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Gluten Free Processed Foods

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Lets say for instance that you eat some gluten free bread for breakfast then later on you have some gluten free cookies and than later a gluten free doughnut and so on.......Can it add up and cause someone to be glutened?

I know that the companies like Udi, kinninnick, Enjoy Life etc. test to certain levels but can the levels add up to be enough to make a super sensitive feel sick?

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Lets say for instance that you eat some gluten free bread for breakfast then later on you have some gluten free cookies and than later a gluten free doughnut and so on.......Can it add up and cause someone to be glutened?

I know that the companies like Udi, kinninnick, Enjoy Life etc. test to certain levels but can the levels add up to be enough to make a super sensitive feel sick?

In my experience, yes it can.

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This question is a logical outgrowth of the endless ppm debate.

The ppm is just a measuring tool. All that really matters is the total quantity of actual gluten consumed per day. It needs to be small enough that your healing process remains faster than the damage rate.

The trouble is, you never really know how much gluten is in something. It may be tested for 10 ppm, so you know it is less than that. It could very well be zero--you just can't prove that.

Even assuming the worst case, which is that the product contains almost enough to be detected by the test, serving size matters. A single vitamin tablet with 20 ppm contains far less total gluten than a slice of gluten-free bread at 5 ppm.

Much as we wish for it, there is not a simple answer.

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Lets say for instance that you eat some gluten free bread for breakfast then later on you have some gluten free cookies and than later a gluten free doughnut and so on.......Can it add up and cause someone to be glutened?

The study done by Fasano to determine safe gluten amounts looked at amount of gluten per day. Ppm amounts are concentrations. Concentration times amount eaten will give you amount of gluten consumed per day.

It definitely will add up, even for someone who isn't super sensitive.

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...Can it add up and cause someone to be glutened?

I know that the companies like Udi, kinninnick, Enjoy Life etc. test to certain levels but can the levels add up to be enough to make a super sensitive feel sick?

Oh heck yeah, it most definitely can. I think it can be a challenge to avoid, as a super sensitive especially, because of the differences in gluten concentration in our foods. Products that are much lower than their maximum allowed ppm, those that are close to the maximum ppm, and a number of the 'naturally' gluten-free foods that end up being over the 20 ppm mark, too.

This is a recent study to try and determine the gluten threshold of celiacs. Dr. Fassano was one of the researchers involved. They had three groups, one challenged with 50 mg of gluten a day, one with 10 mg a day, and one with a placebo. Aside from the amount given to participants by the researchers, they "estimated that the background gluten intake from the GFD followed by our patients during the microchallenge study was <5 mg/d."

At the end of the study, the researchers concluded that 50 mg caused damage, but 10 mg daily was good, except for one member of the study. "One patient (challenged with 10 mg gluten) developed a clinical relapse." They didn't determine where safe levels of gluten ended and damaging levels began, for everyone else.

So, here we have at least one celiac who was witnessed reacting to 10 mg of gluten a day, when monitored by medical professionals.

It's pretty easy to calculate out whether it's possible to consume that much in a day, yeah? Admittedly, it's going to be an estimate, because we don't have hard data on what the concentration actually is, we only have the maximum potential gluten concentration. But, we've got to work with what we've got, at this point.

I took these numbers off of some gluten-free products that are common enough to be found in my local grocery store.

For <20 ppm products:

2 gluten-free waffles are 85 g

1 serving gluten-free canned chili with beans is 247 g

1 gluten-free frozen dinner is 292 g

Let's say you just ate this, no gluten-free bread or crackers or cookies or salad with gluten-free salad dressing, etc...

I convert the g to kg, so: .085+.247+.292=0.624 kg eaten.

Multiply it by the ppm(mg/kg): 20*0.624= 12.48 mg of gluten

This is likely not going to be the amount actually consumed because, again, many products are going to be a lower concentration than the maximum amount of gluten allowed. But this amount is possible, and that with just three products, nothing else.

For the gentleman mentioned in the study above, even the extra 10 mg of gluten a day was too much, right? So these three products could obviously be too much for him, if the levels are close to the maximum allowed gluten. The waffles alone would be fine, but after that, he starts running a higher risk of getting close to his 'threshold.'

I know that a lot of people would say that the gluten levels are likely much lower than the maximum concentration, so this wouldn't be an issue. Sometimes, that's true. Sometimes, it's not, and the product is close to the maximum allowed ppm. Then there's those 'naturally' gluten-free foods I mentioned. Some of those are much higher, like the one soy flour that was tested at 2,925 ppm.

A biscuit is around 50g. If you had only 1/10 of the biscuit as soy flour, at 5 grams, just that soy flour alone is over 14 mg of gluten, once again over that 10 mg mark.

So basically, how sensitive we are, how clean our gluten-free products are, and how much of them we eat, is going to make all the difference in whether we react or not.

All numbers aside, on a personal front, we have to be quite careful with my daughter. With most of the 10 ppm products, she can have one very small serving a day and is usually fine. If she tries more than one, even later in the day, she's typically clutching her stomach in pain by the end of the day.

We've tried this with various combinations of products (on days when we're home, so we can eliminate potential cc while we're out), and there's been a definite correlation between pain and how much gluten she's likely ingested by the end of the day. Even sometimes having one product at night and one first thing in the morning is too close together and she'll have trouble.

At this point, we've just dropped the processed foods for the most part, and then every once in a while as a treat - or if we're desperate while out and about - she can have something processed.

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