G-Free News

Often the summer is a slow time for news and research, but not this year! A rundown on communion wafers,

possible changes in Celiac diagnosis guidelines, FDA GF labelingnot-so-gluten-free pizza, the Specific Carb Diet & IBD and and office change.

Communion wafers:
The Vatican caused a stir when they released a statement that gluten-free communion wafers are not permitted, and the statement itself was a bit confusing. But this actually isn’t new. Church requirements have always stated that at least small amounts of wheat must be present in communion wafers, so truly 100% gluten-free wafers don’t meet that standard. Since 2004, the church has allowed low gluten hosts, which contain trace amounts of gluten that are high enough to meet church requirements, but low enough to get approval from Dr. Fasano and many Celiac organizations. For people who react to even the smallest amounts, having wine only is an option—but only from a separate glass.

The end of biopsies? Not so fast…
A new study showed that a biopsy may not be needed to confirm a Celiac diagnosis in children, and this debate has been happening for the last few years. But make sure you’ve read the fine print. The study showed that people with a tTG (antibody) level more than 10 times above the normal level, and a positive EMA (other Celiac antibody) were normally accurately diagnosed, even without a biopsy. Guidelines for children in the U.S. still recommend a biopsy, and there hasn’t yet been exploration for adults.

My take—Celiac is a lifelong disease, so getting a firm diagnosis is a really important thing, especially for a child. I frequently see clients who are preemptively diagnosed with Celiac based on labs…but when we look at their labs, they don’t meet either criteria–and of course, we don’t know for sure this applies to adults. Working with a knowledgeable gastroenterologist is a big plus, and should always happen.

Move over, Domino’s—there are other not-so-gluten-free crusts
Papa John’s just debuted a gluten-free crust…sort of. According to the company, “it is possible that a pizza with gluten-free crust could be exposed to gluten during the in-store, pizza-making process. Therefore, the brand does not recommend its Gluten-Free Crust made with Ancient Grains for customers with Celiac Disease or serious gluten intolerances.”
My take? I really appreciate companies offering gluten-free products, because I’ve seen people have a much easier time with the diet over the last decade or so. But if they’re going to do it, do it right.

FDA and gluten-free labeling
As many of you know, it was hard enough to get the gluten-free labeling rules passed. Now there has been ongoing difficulty getting the FDA to actually enforce the gluten-free labeling regulations—and of course, if the rules aren’t enforced, they don’t do much to protect the gluten-free community.  Here’s a video letter to the FDA from Gluten-free Watchdog, and if you’re so inclined, feel free to tweet to @US_FDA, tag the FDA on Facebook and/or write letters to the FDA in support of meaningful gluten-free labeling.

Heard of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet?
The SCD has been around for ages…close to a century, actually. The author of the diet, Sidney Haas, MD was quite a pioneer. The SCD was initially intended for the treatment of Celiac disease before doctors even understood what caused Celiac, or could test for it. In recent years, it’s been used for people with IBD (Crohn’s and Ulcerative colitis). Clients have always asked me about it, but there’s never been good studies on it until very recently. Here’s a rundown on what the research shows. Putting this together was a labor of love for me. I find it fascinating and have been delighted to see clients feel better.  I’d encourage you to share with anyone with IBD.

Change in the air…
As of Sept 1st, 2017, I’ll be only seeing clients in my Fairfax office, 9675 A Main Street.

I’ve enjoyed working in Alexandria for the past 10 years, both on Duke Street and in Kingstowne. When my husband and I moved further west, having two offices seemed like a good temporary solution, and the plan was to stay a year or two. Six years later (how does time fly so quickly?), it’s finally time to move to Fairfax full-time. After juggling two leases, managing requirements for two tax localities, sending out two different sets of directions and still having some clients end at the wrong place, and making sure the right folders in the right spot, I’m looking forward to the simplicity of this change.

The Fairfax office is right on Main Street, across from Woodson High School, and about 3 miles from 495. I’ve got an overflowing lending library, and I love the spot.  It’s a great place for nutrition sessions.

So…I will be in the Alexandria office through 8/31/17. if you’re hoping to get a time slot in at the Alexandria office, please drop me a line ASAP. And I look forward to seeing many of you in Fairfax.
Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Wellcoach in Fairfax  VA.  She helps people with a range of dietary issues, including Celiac Disease, GI issues, food allergies, pregnancy, breastfeeding, veg/ vegan diets, preventing diseases and “whole foods” eating. Let’s get you on your way to achieving your goals and feeling great!  Email or call 571-271-8742.

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