Gluten-Free News: April 2016

There has been so much research and new articles related to living gluten-free lately. Here’s an overview of some of the highlights!

Gut bugs & Celiac/autoimmune disease
Dr. Fasano and Dr. Leonard have a fascinating article on the potential for using the microbiome (our gut bacteria) to possibly prevent Celiac disease. No shockers here—as of yet, there are no answers, but a lot of great questions.
A bit more user friendly: There’s also a podcast with Dr. Fasano that covers using nutrition to shape the gut microbiome and how that (possibly) impacts autoimmunity
Sourdough bread—still a “no”
There’s been a recent burst of interest in using sourdough bread on a gluten-free diet because of widely-circulated comments from author Michael Pollan. Unfortunately, it’s not based in science. I did a review of the studies a few years back, and the same conclusions hold. There’s promise in theory, but in practice, it’s not safe. Testing from Gluten Free Watchdog on “Sourdough for Celiacs” shows that one kind of “safe” bread tested at 104,000 ppm of gluten. (gluten-free is under 20ppm, so it’s not even in the ballpark)
Moral of the story—if you need or love your sourdough, make it or buy it with gluten-free grains and you’re good to go.

Gluten-free oats
Those of you who have been gluten-free for a long time remember that way back in the day, oats were not allowed on a gluten-free diet. Then ~7-8 years ago, special gluten-free oats came on the scene. They were grown on special fields, with special equipment, they were specially tested…you get the idea. In the last year or so, however, more and more oats are grown on regular fields, and then a new technique called optical sorting is used to remove the gluten. That’s the process used for Cheerios, and as I’ve mentioned before, the concern is that “your mileage may vary” as to the accuracy.
Earlier this year, a purity protocol farmer announced that they were delaying their planting. There’s a real logic there. If the market for purity protocol, certified GF oats disappears, and there’s additional cost involved, why should they bother? So if you value having gluten-free oats that you can be sure are 100% gluten-free, buy from companies that are taking extra steps to ensure safety.
GFE has a nice summary of the oats situation.

And as some of you know, Passover is just around the corner, starting on April 22nd. Obviously there are some people who celebrate the holiday, while others celebrate the larger range of gluten-free foods available. I’ve got details on Passover here.

Paleo benefits?
Many in the gluten-free community follow a Paleo diet. There’s much speculation, lots of strong feelings on the topic, but few studies available. However,  new data was just presented showing that after 2 years, people on a Paleo diet lost the same amount of weight as people on a low fat diet, but insulin (blood sugar) levels were better for the Paleo group. Interesting, for sure, and to be continued…

Note to BCBS clients:
As of June 2016, I’ll be an out-of-network provider for BCBS. In brief, after many months and many requests, BCBS claims from months ago are still unpaid. It’s been a difficult decision for me. I love my job, but I cannot afford the time, energy and money for an ongoing battle with BCBS. Longer version here.

Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Wellcoach in Fairfax & Alexandria, VA.  She helps people with a range of dietary issues, including Celiac Disease, GI issues, food allergies, pregnancy, breastfeeding, vegetarian and 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.