Tag Archives: gluten-free

Arsenic levels in popular brands of gluten-free foods

arsenic levels in GF foods copy

Recent studies have shown rice can be dangerously high in inorganic arsenic, particularly rice grown in the southern United States. This is bad news for gluten-free people who eat rice-based products — one study showed people on a gluten-free diet have twice as much arsenic in their urine compared to controls (and 70 percent more mercury).

Although guidelines exist to minimize arsenic exposure (buy rice from California, eat white rice, wash rice thoroughly before cooking, and cook rice like pasta in a ratio of about 6 to 1 water to rice), what about rice-based gluten-free foods? It’s nearly impossible to know where their rice comes from, how it’s processed, and what the arsenic levels are.

Arsenic levels in popular gluten-free foods

Until now. The Gluten-Free Watchddog has begun testing arsenic levels in popular brands of gluten-free foods which you can view with a subscription.

Keep in mind that what is considered an acceptable amount of arsenic varies. Codex, an international collection of safety standards, proposes a maximum of 200 parts per billion in white rice. The European Union proposes 100 parts per billion.

However, arsenic expert Dr. Andrew Meharg proposes a maximum of 50 parts per billion for children, who carry a heavier toxic body burden, and a maximum of 100 parts per billion for adults.

Arsenic levels in rice-based gluten-free foods

For results of inorganic arsenic testing on various brands of gluten-free foods that you can browse by category, visit Gluten-Free Watchdog A paid subscription is required to access the reports. However, below are examples of arsenic level ranges in some categories of popular gluten-free foods.*

Inorganic arsenic in gluten-free breads

Inorganic arsenic in popular gluten-free breads ranged from 10 parts per billion to 40 parts per billion.

Pastas

Inorganic arsenic in popular gluten-free pastas ranged from 20 parts per billion to 150 parts per billion.

Cereals

Inorganic arsenic in popular gluten-free cereals ranged from 70 parts per billion to 280 parts per billion.

Miscellaneous rice products (rice bran, rice milk, rice syrup, rice cakes)

Inorganic arsenic in miscellaneous rice products ranged from 20 parts per billion to 540 parts per billion.

Rice

Inorganic arsenic in several rice brands ranged from 80 parts per billion to 140 parts per billion. (Brown rice has more than white rice. Gluten-Free Watchdog reports a brand called Mighty Rice grown on the island of Mauritius shows very low levels of inorganic arsenic in their tests.)

Factor in frequency and amount of consumption

It’s important to understand these numbers tell us the concentration of inorganic arsenic in each product. The frequency and amount of any item eaten and whether the eater is an adult or a developing child are also very important factors in the equation. For example, at 540 parts per billion of inorganic arsenic, one rice bran product looks pretty bad. But consumed in very small quantities as brans typically are, it may not pose as much a problem, relative to the other foods listed, as it first may seem.

It would be better if rice were not high in inorganic arsenic. Thankfully groups such as Gluten Free Watchdog are around to help us reduce exposures. Also, there is a group based at Cornell University working to shift the world to a rice farming method that uses up to 50 percent less water while increasing yields, thus saving precious water while reducing the amount of arsenic in the rice produced.

*Ranges included with permission from Gluten-Free Watchdog LLC.

Is your diabetes diet worsening your diabetes?

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If you have diabetes, whether it’s type 1 or type 2, your doctor likely recommended a diet endorsed by the American Diabetes Association. But did you know the diabetic diet recommends foods that could be slowly worsening your diabetes condition?

Turns out there is more to a diabetic diet than grams of carbs and sugar, although those are vitally important.

For people with type 1 diabetes and for an estimated 20 percent of people with type 2 diabetes, diabetes is an autoimmune disease.

This means the immune system is attacking and destroying the parts of the pancreas involved in insulin production and regulation. Over time destruction is severe enough the body can no longer adequately regulate blood sugar.

Certain foods on the diabetic diet, such as gluten and dairy, have been shown to both trigger autoimmunity and make it worse.

Many type 2 diabetics have autoimmune diabetes

People with type 1 diabetes, which begins in childhood, understand diabetes is an autoimmune condition.

However, many people with type 2 diabetes can go for years without knowing there is an autoimmune component to their diabetes, which generally sets in during adulthood.

This type of diabetes is called type 1.5 diabetes, latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (LADA), or even double diabetes.

Type 1.5 diabetes involves the lifestyle components of being overweight or obese and eating a diet that promotes high blood sugar, along with the autoimmune component that slowly destroys the insulin-producing abilities of the pancreas.

Where the diabetic diet fails

Although grams of carbs and sugars are vital considerations for people with all types of diabetes, what is overlooked is the immune reactivity of foods.

Research shows a link between certain foods and the triggering or exacerbating of autoimmune diseases such as type 1 and type 1.5 diabetes.

If you have an immune reaction to certain foods and consume them daily, they are going to keep the immune system in a constant state of inflammation and attacking body tissue. This makes blood sugar continually difficult to manage, despite careful consumptions of carbs and sugars.

Foods to avoid with autoimmune diabetes

The two top foods to avoid if you have autoimmunity are gluten and dairy. Both have been linked to a number of autoimmune diseases, including diabetes.

Gluten has been shown to trigger an autoimmune attack against the GAD enzyme  which plays a role in insulin regulation and brain function. Casein, the protein in dairy products, has also been linked with autoimmune diabetes.

If you have a sensitivity to these foods or other common immune reactive foods, it is worth getting tested or doing an elimination diet.  Knowing which foods are provoking an autoimmune attack can help you better manage your type 1 or type 1.5 diabetes.

Ask me for more advice on ways to tame inflammation and manage your autoimmune diabetes. If you have type 2 diabetes, it’s important to rule out autoimmunity as a factor.

Hidden gluten in medications and home and body products

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So you’re officially gluten-free. You have your kitchen and shopping lists dialed in and you know how to look for hidden gluten in packaged foods. Ready to go! But wait — did you know that some body products and household items, as well as over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications contain hidden gluten? These items can be the source for ongoing immune activation for those with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Additionally, many people with autoimmune conditions experience cross-reactions with corn, a filler used in many medications that the body can mistake for gluten.

Keeping Gluten Out Of Medications and Supplements

Most medications and many supplements contain fillers or excipients that perform several functions: they provide bulk, lubricate ingredients, or help the tablet disintegrate in the gut. Many of these ingredients are sourced from wheat, barley, or corn. Cross-contamination in the factory can also be an issue.

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How to go gluten-free the right way

go gluten free right way

Anyone concerned with health and wellness has heard about the gluten-free diet. Eliminating gluten is critical for those who have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. What many gluten-free newcomers don’t realize is that many common gluten-free foods contain ingredients that just promote a different set of health problems. In this article we’ll discuss how to avoid this common pitfall so you can transition more easily to a healthy gluten-free diet.

The hidden risk in going gluten-free

Many people rely on packaged and prepared foods for the bulk of their diet, such as breads, pastas, crackers, sauces, and mixes. The tendency when going gluten-free is to replace those items with gluten-free versions of the same products. When you look at the label for packaged gluten-free products, however, you will see ingredients such as rice flour, tapioca starch, corn starch, and potato starch, plus a load of unhealthy fats.

Though free of gluten, these highly-processed, high-sugar, high-carb, low-fiber ingredients can contribute to blood sugar imbalances that affect weight gain, mood, brain function, and other aspects of health. Many of these processed foods also lack vital minerals and nutrients, which over time can contribute to micronutrient deficiencies. Overall, the general lack of nutritional density of packaged gluten-free products outweighs their convenience.

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Your spouse: The biggest barrier to a gluten-free diet?

image15You swore to support each other in sickness and in health, yet when it comes to a gluten-free diet, you may have found your spouse to be your biggest barrier to success.

Spouses complain that eating gluten free is too expensive and too restrictive, they tell you that you’re making a big deal about nothing, or perhaps they simply cannot imagine life without those staples of Western civilization, bread and pasta. Whatever the reason, spouses are often one’s greatest saboteur when it comes to maintaining a gluten-free diet.

Gluten-eating spouse sabotaging your gluten-free diet?

Their transgressions can be maddening. They order pasta with garlic bread in front of your newly gluten-free children, who proceed to cry through the rest of the meal. They dip their knife into your gluten-free mayonnaise after having used it on their whole wheat bread. Continue reading

Are you sure you can eat wheat? Gluten tests often wrong

gluten-free-celiac-disease-cyrex-labsGluten intolerance is not as straightforward as once believed. Many people test negative for gluten intolerance when, in fact, they have celiac disease or should be on a gluten-free diet. This is because standard tests are incomplete and fail to account for gluten cross-reactivity.

Fortunately, revolutionary breakthroughs in gluten testing are now available from Cyrex Labs. Cyrex tests for immune reactions to 12 different compounds of the gluten protein, foods the body mistakes for gluten, and other food sensitivities.

People can react to 12 different components of wheat

Wheat is made up of more than 100 different components that can cause an immune reaction in people. Cyrex Labs used extensive research to pinpoint the 12 most common and screens for an immune reaction to one or more of them. These include peptides, proteins, and enzymes associated with wheat.

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