Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Celiac Disease - A Hidden Epidemic - book review

My mother just finished reading the book "Celiac Disease - A Hidden Epidemic - Unmasking One of the Most Underdiagnosed Autoimmune Diseases" by Peter H. R. Green, M.D., who is the Director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. Though I have personally not had the opportunity to yet read it, she highly recommended the 280 page book.

From what my mother describes, it sounds like the book goes into a fair amout of detail about everything from ingredients that are safe or not, as well as what foods/products in the USA to look out for any why. She summarized some of the following (not sure what is or is not a direct quote) from the book:
  • SAFE GRAINS: Rice, Corn, Millet, Teff, Sorghum, Wild Rice, Buckwheat, Quinoa, and Amaranth. (oddly, I did not notice Tapioca, bean flours, pea starch, and other obvious ones in the list -- perhaps my mother just omitted from her synopsis).
  • AVOID: Rye, Barley (barley malt), bulgur, couscous, spelt, kamut, semolina, triticale, and einkorn.
  • OATS: The protein in oats was shown to cause a reaction in a few celiac patients similar to that of the gluten peptides. But most people with celiac tolerate oats well and they are regarded as safe for most celiacs. Patients ingesting oats sometimes have more symptoms due to the increase of dietary fiber, but very few have any type of immune reaction. Oats add both fiber and variety to the gluten-free-diet -- elements that are frequently lacking. The issue of cross contamination of grains during growth or manufacturing process was discussed. You are urged to buy oats from mills that are either dedicated to gluten-free products or recommended by knowledgeable sources.
  • YEAST: Baker's yeast, autolyzed yeast, and autolyzed yeast extract are gluten free. Brewer's yeast if not gluten-free unless it is found in a dietary food supplement, in which case it is gluten-free. All distilled vinegar is gluten-free. Malt vinegar is not distilled and is the only one to be avoided.
  • MALT: Malt extract, malt flavoring, malt syrup, and malt flour are all made from barley and should not be used.
  • Maltodextrin in the US, is made from corn, rice, or potato and is safe. Wheat is sometimes used in Maltodextrin in imported products and it should be labled as "maltodextrin (wheat)" or "wheat Maltodextrin".
  • STARCH: In foods, "starch" is always cornstarch and is safe. Modified food starch is almost always cornstarch, it could be wheat starch (my comment: I have read that modified food starch in products made in the USA is always cornstarch, and this is what I find most annoying with the whole GF thing -- finding CONSISTENT information).
  • Pharmaceuticals: both starch and modified food starch could be wheat starch.
  • Many soy sauces are fermented from wheat and, if so, should list wheat on the label. When soy sauce is an ingredient within another food, the source may not always be declared - use at your own risk.
  • Pure spices are gluten free. Gluten-containing grains are rarely used in a flavoring, except in meat products and products that contain meat.
  • Carmel color is safe--corn is used. Though the FDA permits Malt syrup, corn is used as it makes a better product. (my thoughts... sounds lovely and all, but what about the manufacturer that gets a deal on barley and says "so what if corn makes a better product - barley is cheaper, especially now that people are using corn-ethanol in their gas tanks!".)
  • Barley malt, not gluten free, is sometimes used as a flavoring, it should be labeled. In rare instances, barley malt is used as a flavoring but not identified on the label.
  • Citric Acid made in the US is made from corn. European producers might use wheat.
  • Dextrin (FDA allows wheat) but they say corn is used in the US. Imported Dextrin could be wheat.
There were other notes mom mentioned about the book to interest me in reading it. Next time I see her I will try to get hold of the thing and give it a proper (first-hand) review. The book is Published by Harper Collins, 10 East 53rd Street, NY, NY 10022 Copyright 2006 -- perhaps that will be enough info for you to easily locate a copy if interested.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

FarmHouse Long Grain and Wild Rice contains autolyzed yeast extract and it say's on the box it may contain wheat so I contacted the company and they say their autolyzed yeast comes from wheat so I'm not eating it. What I don't know is if the autolyzed yeast contains enough gluten to cause harm?

Kathy Giroux