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Is There an Acceptable Gluten Intake Amount?

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with celiac disease it is likely you’re still adapting to a gluten-free lifestyle. It may seem overwhelming at first to a celiac patient to begin the gluten-free road to recovery, as there are many challenges to face in adjusting to a gluten-free diet.

One question celiac patients have is: "how much gluten is too much?” Even though the amount of gluten that can be tolerated by celiac patients is variable, there is yet a definite agreed-upon amount of gluten that is considered to be acceptable among most celiacs.

In general, research suggests that less than 10 milligrams (mg) of gluten daily is unlikely to cause significant damage to the intestines in most celiac people. However these small amounts could still be enough to make a person feel unwell.

How small is 10 mg? A dime weighs about 2,200 mg (2.2 g). Tricia Thompson, RD, a celiac disease authority explains that a one-ounce slice of regular white bread has approximately 3,515 mg of gluten, or 351 times the maximum daily amount that’s safe for celiac patients. That means even a crumb is too much.

This doesn’t mean that you can cut a slice of bread into 350 little crumbs and eat one of them. Even if you’re maintaining a diet that is otherwise gluten-free, chances are good that you’re still getting some gluten daily. Regulations in most parts of the world allow a product to be labeled gluten-free
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if it contains up to 20 parts per million of gluten, which is equivalent to about 20 mg per kilo.

“Even a slice of gluten-free bread contains a little over 1/2 mg of gluten,” Tricia says. “So sticking to an entirely gluten-free diet is not only the best way, but the only way, to ensure your gluten intake is at a safe level.”

It may seem tough at first to celiac patients to monitor gluten intake, but with time and practice, it will become second nature. The gluten-free road is full of challenges, but with the right information and in enough time these challenges can all be met with satisfaction.

In am engaged in efforts to raise support and awareness on behalf of the celiac community and for the Celiac Disease Center at the Columbia University Medical Center, headed by Dr. Peter Green, MD. Celiac disease (also spelled coeliac) is an autoimmune disease caused by an allergic reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. An estimated 3 million Americans have it and only three percent of them know it, Dr. Green estimates. Not only do I work towards increasing awareness and support for celiac disease, but I also like to help the celiac community, especially celiac children, make the healthy change to a gluten-free diet.

As always, Celiac.com welcomes your comments (see below).


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2 Responses:

 
Kevin

said this on
19 Sep 2014 8:55:07 AM PDT
What are your thoughts about the FDA's GF regulations?

 
Tina
( Author)
said this on
18 Dec 2014 5:15:12 AM PDT
Hi Kevin - I am happy things have moved more in our favor. That is for sure! The FDA said that the term will still be voluntary, but that companies must market foods as gluten-free “in a truthful and not misleading manner”, so any food packaging that fails to meet its requirements “will be subject to regulatory action.” This is hopeful and meaningful to those of us with celiac disease. It provides a clear definition of the term so that all packaged food products bearing the claim “gluten-free” DO contain less than 20 parts per million.

Fondly, Tina




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REALLY odd call out here, I am attending a anime convention called A-Fest in Dallas come August, I need someone to split the room with it who is gluten-free. I take extra precautions, I COOK all the food, bring only CERTIFIED foods into the room, The room will be Gluten Free, Corn Free, Dairy Free, Peanut Free. I am trying to find someone to split the room cost with, that would be safe to be around I CAN NOT AFFORD to get sick at one of these things, it is one of my few joys left in life and get very paranoid around them. So I need someone who is also gluten-free to make sure the room stays safe (YES I have done with with a non celiac with the rules down and well stuff happens so not chancing it). Room split is food coverage comes to $400 if it is just two people. 4 day convention, I will arrange a meal plan around your diet as long as it is free of my allergens. I will also provide various snacks, baked goods, and even stuff to take home with you. https://animefest.org/ ^Convention info.

Hi Jennifer, This thread might have some information that would help you. Your doctors are pretty lame IMHO. Perhaps you can find a celiac group in your area that has local meetings for support. They might also suggest a different doctor who knows how to treat celiac patients.

All the above posts are full of good advice. What I'd like to add is, if you have coeliac disease and continue to eat gluten, you run the risk of other autoimmune diseases in the future as well as osteoporosis, malnutrition and even cancer, so even if you had no symptoms at the beginning, and may also not have any symptoms if you eat gluten (not all coeliacs do), the damage is still being done to your gut and the rest of your body, so please be aware of this.

You could possibly try calling the places in Texas and Chicago to see if they can refer you somewhere that does accept your insurance. Oh good luck to you!

Hi Jennifer and welcome CyclingLady has given you some good advice above. You want certainty and that's entirely understandable. Go back to your doctors and explain that you need to know a little more and hopefully they will engage positively with you. If they don't, then do pursue a second opinion. I just wanted to address your last paragraph quoted above. The problem with celiac, or in my case non celiac gluten sensitivity, is that it presents or doesn't present in so many different ways. It can do hidden damage which may take many years to become apparent. It can impact in ways which are incredibly difficult to recognise or isolate. I am 'lucky' in that the way that gluten impacts on me is far worse than any mental or social isolation brought upon by the diet, so motivation is easy for me, even without the certainty of a celiac diagnosis, there really is no alternative, I don't think I'd last long on a gluten diet now. But I can well understand how difficult it may be to stay honest on the diet if you don't have any symptoms to deal with. The diet can be isolating, there does become a distance between you and 'normal' people. Who would want to deal with all that if they didn't have to? If you aren't satisfied with your doctors responses and choose to go back onto gluten I suggest you find another doctor and go back into the diagnostic process and properly exclude celiac, including a scope. Otherwise you could be taking a big risk with yr long term health. You may find that this process supplies you with an answer as if your diagnosis was correct your response to the reintroduction of gluten may surprise you, or not of course! best of luck!