According to the US Food and Drug Association, nearly 3 million Americans suffer from celiac disease-- a condition in which consuming gluten causes serious damage to the lining of the small intestine and prevents absorption of nutrients. Due to this, the FDA requires that any product that claims gluten free must meet a clear standard and be transparent about what ingredients they contain.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found naturally in wheat, barley, and rye. It’s mainly in grain-based foods such as bread, cake, or pasta. Gluten is what shapes food and holds it together. For those with celiac disease, gluten is treated as a foreign attacker on the body. This can lead to conditions such as anemia, osteoporosis, and other diseases that wreak havoc on the body.
Certification and Regulation
Before 2013, there were no rules or standards from the FDA regarding companies labeling their products “gluten-free” which led to many concerns regarding food ingredients and claims.
Today, a company must adhere to the following rules regarding gluten-free labels:
- Must limit the unavoidable presence of gluten to less than 20 ppm
- May not contain any form of wheat, rye, barley, or any crossbreeds of the three
- May not contain any ingredient that has not been processed to remove gluten
- May not contain any ingredient that has been processed with more than 20 ppm of gluten
Any product or food that claims to be gluten-free, but fails to follow these rules and regulations will be subject to the regulatory rules and guidelines set forth by the FDA. Many products do not naturally contain gluten and therefore do not have labels on them stating so such as bottled water or vegetables.
What to Look For
In order to determine if a product is gluten-free there are several things to look for:
- A gluten-free label (there is no specific regulation on where a gluten-free label should be placed so search for the “GF” symbol on the packaging)
- Allergen labels
- Check the ingredients(it’s important to check the ingredients list in case there is something harmful to your body)
Gluten Free Foods
For those with celiac disease or other conditions preventing the consumption of gluten, there are many grains and seeds that naturally do not contain gluten such as:
- Oats (check for a gluten free label as some oats can be contaminated by gluten despite being naturally free of it)
In addition, there are many foods in other food groups that naturally occur without gluten:
All of Kate’s Real Food products are certified gluten-free and baked with healthy ingredients to give your body the power it needs to get through the day. Kate’s is dedicated to organic recipes that help to fuel your day whether you’re hiking in the mountains or grinding away at your work desk. Find your favorite gluten-free product now and make everyday an adventure.