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What Is The Gluten-Free Standard?

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I believe I am getting better at reading labels. I thought that to be safe it was best to stick to stuff that has been labeled

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At the moment, in the US, there is no legal definition of "gluten-free."

Click here to go to a discussion a few months ago.

Peter,

I read the entire post. Thanks for that link. I am now truly bummed. This is discouraging and frightening.

Since you are so well informed on this topic, may I ask you another question?

Say that I consume 3 different produts in one day and each tests at 20ppm. Does that mean that I just consumed 60ppm? So perhaps I am not reacting to one product but rather to an accumulation?

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Michelle,

Lots of people get hung up on ppm, which is vexing because it really is a meaningless number. Like percentages, which ppm is a form of, most people have trouble understanding what they really mean.

Here is an example from the percent world. You make $20 per hour working for me. Times are really tough, so I insist that you take a 50% wage cut just to keep your job. 50% of $20 is $10. Your new wage is $10 per hour. Oh, wait, we just got a huge contract from a new customer. I can give you a 50% increase in your wages. That reverses the cut, right? Wrong. 50% of $10 is $5 and your new wage is $15 per hour.

Tests can detect 20 ppm or 5 ppm or some other detection threshold. A product tested for 20 ppm may, in fact, contain 19 ppm or 0 ppm, or any amount in between.

Let us assume that we have two baked products. One is tested for 5 ppm and the other for 20 ppm. Let us also assume that each is right at the detection limit, say 4.9 ppm and 19.9 ppm--that is not a valid assumption, but let's run with it for the moment.

Let's eat a 10 gram serving of the 20 ppm tested product. That's 196 micrograms of gluten.

Now, let's eat a 40 gram serving of the 5 ppm tested product. Holy cow! We still ate 196 micrograms of gluten.

What matters in terms of the gluten-free diet is the total amount of gluten ingested, not whether it came from dilute or concentrated sources. And I cannot repeat enough times, tested to X ppm does not mean contains X ppm. The content is less and is often far, far less than the test threshold.

I hope that helps. If not, let me know, but I didn't want to bury you in mathematics. It was my major...

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Michelle,

Lots of people get hung up on ppm, which is vexing because it really is a meaningless number. Like percentages, which ppm is a form of, most people have trouble understanding what they really mean.

Here is an example from the percent world. You make $20 per hour working for me. Times are really tough, so I insist that you take a 50% wage cut just to keep your job. 50% of $20 is $10. Your new wage is $10 per hour. Oh, wait, we just got a huge contract from a new customer. I can give you a 50% increase in your wages. That reverses the cut, right? Wrong. 50% of $10 is $5 and your new wage is $15 per hour.

Tests can detect 20 ppm or 5 ppm or some other detection threshold. A product tested for 20 ppm may, in fact, contain 19 ppm or 0 ppm, or any amount in between.

Let us assume that we have two baked products. One is tested for 5 ppm and the other for 20 ppm. Let us also assume that each is right at the detection limit, say 4.9 ppm and 19.9 ppm--that is not a valid assumption, but let's run with it for the moment.

Let's eat a 10 gram serving of the 20 ppm tested product. That's 196 micrograms of gluten.

Now, let's eat a 40 gram serving of the 5 ppm tested product. Holy cow! We still ate 196 micrograms of gluten.

What matters in terms of the gluten-free diet is the total amount of gluten ingested, not whether it came from dilute or concentrated sources. And I cannot repeat enough times, tested to X ppm does not mean contains X ppm. The content is less and is often far, far less than the test threshold.

I hope that helps. If not, let me know, but I didn't want to bury you in mathematics. It was my major...

Peter,

You didn't bury me. You have just set me straight. Since we are dealing with arbitrary numbers and voluntary labeling and testing, there is no way to truly know what is being ingested.

The safest bet (for me) is the whole foods approach, at least until I figure things out. I just wish that would happen soon.

Peter, your information has been invaluable. I thought this website was a great resource, but now I see that the moderators are a big part of that. Thanks again.

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Michelle,

He buried me.

But your first sentence cleared it up.

We can't know in the United States, how much gluten we are eating, if we choose to eat gluten free products.

Is that about it?

Whole foods for me then.

I only understood the words arbitrary plus voluntary equals cross contamination for those who are sensitive.

Thank you both.

I thought gluten free was gluten free.

Yikes :blink:

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Here is an example from the percent world....

Peter, that was an EXCELLENT example/walkthrough!

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I often react to gluten free foods. It helps to check if they are made in a gluten free facility or on gluten free lines. After many occasions of getting sick you figure out which companies work out better. There are also various certifying programs and it can help to check if the food is certified by one of the better ones. It takes a lot of trial and error to figure it all out. It isn't the same for all celiacs. Our tolerances seem to vary widely.

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I often react to gluten free foods. It helps to check if they are made in a gluten free facility or on gluten free lines. After many occasions of getting sick you figure out which companies work out better. There are also various certifying programs and it can help to check if the food is certified by one of the better ones. It takes a lot of trial and error to figure it all out. It isn't the same for all celiacs. Our tolerances seem to vary widely.

This is what it comes down to for me also.

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I often react to gluten free foods. It helps to check if they are made in a gluten free facility or on gluten free lines. After many occasions of getting sick you figure out which companies work out better. There are also various certifying programs and it can help to check if the food is certified by one of the better ones. It takes a lot of trial and error to figure it all out. It isn't the same for all celiacs. Our tolerances seem to vary widely.

That is probably the way to go, but only if you don't mind being your own guinea pig. I'm so new at this and I feel so raw still that I am afraid of getting sick. Partly because I am in grad school and getting sick can cause a lot of trouble there for me and partly because I have just barely begun to taste the freedom from being sick.

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That is probably the way to go, but only if you don't mind being your own guinea pig. I'm so new at this and I feel so raw still that I am afraid of getting sick. Partly because I am in grad school and getting sick can cause a lot of trouble there for me and partly because I have just barely begun to taste the freedom from being sick.

I totally understand. In that case, eat a grain free whole foods diet. Wash everything carefully. Peel what you can. You can try more things later when you are up to it.

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this thread is perfect....peter your information is invaluable!

I have been reacting lately to "gluten free" breads and now I'm thinking I know why.

bummed out, but informed.

thank you.

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I totally understand. In that case, eat a grain free whole foods diet. Wash everything carefully. Peel what you can. You can try more things later when you are up to it.

That is very sound advice. It took more than a couple of days to make me so sick, then it will certainly take more than a few to get me better. For now, I am just going to keep it simple.

Good idea about the peeling. I always thought that the extra fiber you get from skins is healthy, but perhaps for now, at least, I should take your advice. Thanks!

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