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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Caramel Coloring?
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27 posts in this topic

I just got home from my monthly CSA support group meeting and it was reported there that Pepsi and Coke and other cola products, while technically gluten free actually test at 18ppm because of the carmel coloring. I understand that anything under 20 ppm can be considered gluten free but a lot of us react to that level. I am curious to any information or experiences you may have on this.

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Are there reported test results somewhere? I would love to see them. My experience is that the level is considerably lower than that. I think that I have seen a lot of reports of carmel coloring being gluten free unless otherwise stated. http://www.celiac.co...ree#entry789813

Do you react to these products?

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I would ask to see where they got that info from. There are a lot of people on the internet saying whatever they think might get them attention.

I don't see how it would have gluten if its made from corn.

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Caramel color is one of those celiac urban myths that just won't go away.

Here is Shelley Case's take on it, from Gluten-Free Diet A Comprehensive Resource Guide:

Although gluten-containing ingredients (barley malt syrup and starch hydrolysates) can be used in the production of caramel color, North American companies use corn as it has a longer shelf life and makes a superior product. European companies use glucose derived from wheat starch, however caramel color is highly processed and contains no gluten.
[Emphasis in original]
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Caramel color is one of those celiac urban myths that just won't go away.

Here is Shelley Case's take on it, from Gluten-Free Diet A Comprehensive Resource Guide:

[Emphasis in original]

And part of this urban legend is that this high level of processing removes all the gluten (or other allergen). Sensitive individuals DO react even to these highly processed ingredients. On the other side, I never had problems with caramel coloring or glucose syrup here in America. Can't say the same about Europe.

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My current theory about things like caramel color from wheat is that some number of celiacs celiacs will get antibody reactions to broken down parts of the gluten. It's been known for a long time that gliadin portion of the protein is supposed to be what causes the reaction. But does the gliadin need to be fully intact for that? When measuring gluten, is it whole gluten molecules that get tested for? How do our methods for measuring gluten compare to our own bodies recognition of gluten? If they're not exactly the same (like, if they don't culture celiac's anitbodies to create these tests or something), then it's quite plausible that the immune system will treat something that's not even a full gliadin particle like gluten.

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I am currently reacting to Coca Cola....or so I think. Its been a year since I tried it again. I'm super sensitive and just wanted a Rum and Coke at x-mass with the Family. I knew i could potentially react, but I really thought I could get away with it, with only minor symptoms....horribly wrong, this has been one of the swiftest reactions and pretty debilitating so far today. I hope it only lasts a few days this time. I'm still on the fence as to wether it was worth it.... I really enjoyed my husband's family after the rum and cokes! LOL! I won't be doing it again of course, but I was blissfully ignorant for a few hours before the pain started!

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lolipopins, just a thought re the Coke. Could HFCS be a factor?

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I just got home from my monthly CSA support group meeting and it was reported there that Pepsi and Coke and other cola products, while technically gluten free actually test at 18ppm because of the carmel coloring. I understand that anything under 20 ppm can be considered gluten free but a lot of us react to that level. I am curious to any information or experiences you may have on this.

I would not be surprised as everytime I drink a soda with caramel colouring I react as if I have been glutened.

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I just got home from my monthly CSA support group meeting and it was reported there that Pepsi and Coke and other cola products, while technically gluten free actually test at 18ppm because of the carmel coloring.

Would you please tell us who said that, and provide references for the testing. In the US, caramel color is made from corn. Where did the gluten come from?

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I am a super sensitive celiac. I can eat carefully sourced corn. Regular corn and things made from it are likely to give me a reaction. I believe that it gets cross contaminated during growth, harvest, storage, and shipment. Corn is often grown in rotation with wheat, and usually shared equipment is used. The level of cross contamination involved doesn't seem to be great enough to bother typical celiacs.

http://soilquality.org/practices/row_crop_rotations.html

http://ohioline.osu.edu/iwy/croprota.html

http://www.organicgrains.ncsu.edu/production/croprotation.htm

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lolipopins, just a thought re the Coke. Could HFCS be a factor?

yes it could be and I didn't take that into consideration.
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I haven't drank pepsi or coke in decades. Perhaps you get ill from the phosphoric acid therein. For me, combing this acid with stomach acid ( HCL) gave me stomach upset.

Something else to consider.

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I get bloating from diet coke and caffeine free coke. Caffine free is the worst, that has caused me problem for several years before anything else really started bothering me. The artificial sugars have given me headaches for years but, the gluten intolerance just started/recognized . I have been trying to get gluten free. It is not easy. I live in the US. Your not alone with having Carmel coloring issues. Hugs. I guess from what I've learned from other posts here it gets better and easier. I am amazed at benedryl. It helps hugely. When I make a mistake. My skin looks like really bad windburn on top of stomach ailments. And bendryl seems to help my insides and skin not react so horibly.

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I am a super sensitive celiac. I can eat carefully sourced corn. Regular corn and things made from it are likely to give me a reaction. I believe that it gets cross contaminated during growth, harvest, storage, and shipment. Corn is often grown in rotation with wheat, and usually shared equipment is used. The level of cross contamination involved doesn't seem to be great enough to bother typical celiacs.

http://soilquality.o..._rotations.html

http://ohioline.osu....y/croprota.html

http://www.organicgr...roprotation.htm

I am a super sensitive celiac. I can eat carefully sourced corn. Regular corn and things made from it are likely to give me a reaction. I believe that it gets cross contaminated during growth, harvest, storage, and shipment. Corn is often grown in rotation with wheat, and usually shared equipment is used. The level of cross contamination involved doesn't seem to be great enough to bother typical celiacs.

http://soilquality.o..._rotations.html

http://ohioline.osu....y/croprota.html

http://www.organicgr...roprotation.htm

After being diagnosed as gluten intolerant, I began eating things like tortillas instead of bread, grits instead of cold cereal and continued to have problems. That is when I began researching corn intolerance as well. The reaction I have from corn is just as bad as from wheat.

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After being diagnosed as gluten intolerant, I began eating things like tortillas instead of bread, grits instead of cold cereal and continued to have problems. That is when I began researching corn intolerance as well. The reaction I have from corn is just as bad as from wheat.

Me too!

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I react to anything more than 10 ppm. I usually just stick to water, milk, and the juices I juice myself. In my case, anything with artificial flavors will certainly make me sick.

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It's not totally an urban myth, some Celiacs are also intolerant to corn--in any form.  I don't think it's a coincidence.   My corn intolerance is worse than the Celiac since I have anaphylaxis even if a food has potassium citrate as an additive.  I can't touch a cola or anything else with caramel color with a ten-foot pole.

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It's not totally an urban myth, some Celiacs are also intolerant to corn--in any form.  I don't think it's a coincidence.   My corn intolerance is worse than the Celiac since I have anaphylaxis even if a food has potassium citrate as an additive.  I can't touch a cola or anything else with caramel color with a ten-foot pole.

Being intolerant to corn does not make caramel coloring have gluten in it.

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For the people who are having similar symptoms from corn as wheat/barley/rye gluten, there appears to be no coincidence.  While the chemical make up of each grain differs, our bodies' responses do not.  Thus, we insist that a connection must be made and/or there needs to be more categories to the condition.  I think we've safely concluded on this forum that the range of symptoms for each person is wide, I don't think we really know why.  That's why it's not totally an urban myth that corn is a problem for Celiacs. 

 

I've tried having corn products that are free of cross contamination with wheat/barley/rye gluten and the same problem occurs.  I even tried rinsing popcorn before popping--same nauseating result.  I've had a bad relationship with corn since I was a kid, not sure how much GM corn was around then, but my hunch is that it doesn't matter.  I couldn't eat corn on an empty stomach without a guarantee that I'd puke it up soon after.  Everyone thought I had a weak stomach, go figure.

 

Also, something like teff grain, which has no risk of cross contamination like oatmeal and corn do, would ideally never cause problems.  I've gotten sick from that.  As someone suggested in my post on going grain free, the difference may lie in the amount of time a person has been unintentionally exposed to the problem foods. 

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For the people who are having similar symptoms from corn as wheat/barley/rye gluten, there appears to be no coincidence.  While the chemical make up of each grain differs, our bodies' responses do not.  Thus, we insist that a connection must be made and/or there needs to be more categories to the condition.  I think we've safely concluded on this forum that the range of symptoms for each person is wide, I don't think we really know why.  That's why it's not totally an urban myth that corn is a problem for Celiacs. 

 

I've tried having corn products that are free of cross contamination with wheat/barley/rye gluten and the same problem occurs.  I even tried rinsing popcorn before popping--same nauseating result.  I've had a bad relationship with corn since I was a kid, not sure how much GM corn was around then, but my hunch is that it doesn't matter.  I couldn't eat corn on an empty stomach without a guarantee that I'd puke it up soon after.  Everyone thought I had a weak stomach, go figure.

 

Also, something like teff grain, which has no risk of cross contamination like oatmeal and corn do, would ideally never cause problems.  I've gotten sick from that.  As someone suggested in my post on going grain free, the difference may lie in the amount of time a person has been unintentionally exposed to the problem foods. 

 

 

That stilldoes not mean that carmel coloring  contains gluten. (which is what we were discussing).

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Caramel color is one of those celiac urban myths that just won't go away.

Here is Shelley Case's take on it, from Gluten-Free Diet A Comprehensive Resource Guide:

[Emphasis in original]

As a person very sensitive to gluten, I have to say that I think this isn't true. I have had a gluten reaction to many coca cola and pepsi products that contain either caramel color or natural flavors, but I can have regular gluten free caramels. So far, I have only found that I can have Sierra Mist Natural, 1919 root beer, Blue Sky flavors, and Hanks root beer.

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Caramel color is gluten free.  If you choose to believe it is not, you are free to do so but it does not mean you are correct.  I am not implying you are not reacting to these products but soda is so bad for you anyway, I think worrying about caramel color is a moot point.  No one should be drinking soda in their diet if they want to be healthy.

It is incredibly bad for bone health and that is a top concern for many Celiac's. 

 

This is an older topic but 2 years later, caramel color is still gluten free!  :)

 

 

http://www.glutenfreedietitian.com/caramel-color/

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but I can have regular gluten free caramels. .

I agree with Gemini. And caramel candy is not the same thing as a caramel colored artificial coloring. :)

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Caramel color is gluten free.  If you choose to believe it is not, you are free to do so but it does not mean you are correct.  I am not implying you are not reacting to these products but soda is so bad for you anyway, I think worrying about caramel color is a moot point.  No one should be drinking soda in their diet if they want to be healthy.

It is incredibly bad for bone health and that is a top concern for many Celiac's. 

 

This is an older topic but 2 years later, caramel color is still gluten free!  :)

 

 

http://www.glutenfreedietitian.com/caramel-color/

I just know from experience that it is a gluten reaction. Whether it is from the natural flavors, caramel coloring, and/or cross contamination, I don't know. All I know is that I have tried multiple pops and have had a gluten reaction to the ones containing natural flavors and caramel color. After being g.f for 5-6 years, I rarely take any company at its word that the product is gluten free unless they say it is certified or actually have it listed as gluten free on the package.

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