Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Gluten Summit

I feel incredibly grateful to have had the privilege of being part of the behind-the-scenes team for The Gluten Summit. It has been amazing to see all the people touched, to read the heart-felt messages pouring in and to see how many who have listened and received the messages and are now implementing the life-changing information.

Two years ago, when I was eye-ball deep in this research, writing my master's thesis on The Complexity of Celiac Disease and Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, I was constantly "blown away" by the quantity and quality of medical research about these conditions and the lack of information getting to the general public. I kept thinking, "How does this not make the news?

An example: In 2006, researchers in Italy evaluated 132 celiac patients with clinically diagnosed ADHD. The participants, ranging in age from 3 to 57 years old, were evaluated before a gluten-free diet and again after adhering to a gluten-free diet for six months. ALL 132 participants or their parents noticed significant improvement in behavior.

Yes, you read that correctly, ALL noticed a significant improvement. Imagine if this was a drug study where ALL the participants noticed an improvement. It would be all over the media.

As a former fourth grade teacher, it breaks my heart that children are experiencing difficultly in school every single day because their parents don't know that the breakfasts they so lovingly feed them, are filled with gluten and may be preventing blood flow to their child's brain, making it incredibly difficult for them to sit still and learn.

If you are still of the opinion that the Gluten Free Diet is just a FAD, I want to encourage you to listen today, for FREE, to David Perlmutter, MD, FACN, ABIHM and Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD, MMedSci. Today, Tuesday, November 19th is Encore Day and 8 of the 29 interviews are available to watch.

Take 2 hours of your precious time and listen to two experts explain how gluten could be contributing to your or your loved one's health conditions. It could make an incredibly positive and profound difference in your or your family's health.

Wishing you the best of health,

xo~Michelle Ross, MA, MS, CN

You can use this link to watch the interviews now! 

or you can purchase the entire event here and listen at your leisure, 


If you are already registered, check your email for the link. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Hidden and Not So Hidden Sources of Gluten

Hidden and Not So Hidden Sources of Gluten
It can be surprising and a bit daunting to realize the many places gluten can hide.  If you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, it is important to be a highly motivated, suspicious label-reader.

There is evidence that consuming even the smallest amounts of gluten on a regular basis can alter the enteropathy of a celiac patient’s small bowel.1,2   As little as 100 milligrams of gluten can cause mucosal damage to the small intestines in some patients.  A piece of bread typically contains 2.5 grams of gluten.1 A published case-report documented a patient who continued to have abnormal small bowel pathology after consuming only a fragment of a communion wafer daily.  Analysis showed the wafer fragment to contain approximately 1 mg of gluten.In other words, people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can have extreme variance in their degree of intolerance to trace amounts of gluten exposure.
This list was not created to overwhelm you, but to inform and empower you.  It is for those of us who have worked so diligently to remove gluten from our diet, only to realize that the lip balm and lipstick we’ve been using was contaminating us several times a day.
This is a list of food or non-food items that may contain gluten.  If the label doesn’t say gluten-free, you need to assume that it’s probably not.

  • Alcohol – Avoid all grain alcohol or alcohol made with malt.  (The process of distilling should remove all gluten, but not all alcoholic beverage companies distill enough times to completely purify their beverages.  Potato-based vodka, rum and tequila are gluten-free.)
  • Art Supplies: play dough (play-doh), glue, etc. (watch out for children putting these in their mouth. Be sure to wash their hands well after use.)
  • Artificial Colors and Flavors
  • Baby Powder
  • Baking Powder
  • Barley
  • Barley Malt
  • Battered foods
  • Beer (unless it is labeled gluten-free)
  • Biscotti
  • Breading
  • Broths
  • Brown Rice Syrup (it often contains barely malt)
  • Bulgur
  • Bouillon Cubes or Powders that contain artificial colors
  • Candy
  • Canned Meats (containing preservatives)
  • Canned vegetables (unless canned in water only)
  • Caramel (made and imported from countries other than the US and Canada)
  • Cheese spreads
  • Chewing Gum (Spry or B-Fresh Gum are gluten-free and don't contain aspartame)
  • Colorings
  • Cough Drops
  • Couscous
  • Curry Powder
  • Dextrin and Maltodextrin
  • Envelopes, Stamps, Stickers and Labels
  • Farina
  • Flavorings
  • French Fries
  • Fried Foods (they often use the same oil for gluten containing foods)
  • Fruit drinks
  • Glucose syrup (often made from wheat)
  • Gourmet and prepared meats
  • Gravies
  • Hamburger patties (unless it says 100% beef)
  • Horseradish sauces
  • Hotdogs
  • HPP (hydrolyzed plant starch)
  • HVP (hydrolyzed vegetable protein)
  • Ice Cream
  • Icing/Frosting
  • Imitation sea food (e.g., crab meat)
  • Instant hot drinks—coffee, tea, hot chocolate
  • Kamut
  • Ketchup (Some ketchups use wheat as a thickener.  Also, watch for cross-contamination, as a contaminated knife is sometimes used to help the ketchup to flow.)
  • Kitchen Appliances: toasters, cutting boards, etc.
  • Licorice
  • Lipsticks and Lip Balm
  • Lunch Meats
  • Malt Vinegar
  • Margarines
  • Marinades
  • Mayonnaise
  • Medications
  • Modified food starch (it usually refers to cornstarch, but can also be wheat starch)
  • Monoammonium Glutamate or Monopotassium
  • MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) or Glutamic Acid—flavor enhancers
  • Mustards (unless labeled gluten-free)
  • Oat (Oats are often cross-contaminated with gluten.  Make sure they are certified gluten-free.)
  • Personal care products, shampoo, lotions, makeup, suntan lotion, hand lotion (we often put our fingers to our mouths), etc.
  • Pickles
  • Processed Foods (read labels carefully)
  • Rye
  • Salad dressing (avoid all commercial dressings unless labeled gluten-free)
  • Sauces
  • Sausages or processed meats
  • Seasonings (if it doesn’t say gluten-free on the label, then suspect gluten)
  • Seitan
  • Soups (especially cream-based soups)
  • Sour Cream
  • Soy Sauce and most Chinese Sauces (except for wheat-free tamari)
  • Spelt
  • Spreads for bread: Be aware of "double dipping" (e.g., Dipping a knife into peanut butter, butter, jam etc. spreading it onto a piece of bread and then dipping the knife back into the container.  This contaminates the entire container for a person with gluten sensitivity.  Label your jars so your family and friends know to keep the food safe for you.)
  • Starch
  • Supplements (read the label carefully)
  • Tea, instant tea, instant coffee
  • Thickeners
  • Toothpaste
  • Triticale
  • TVP (textured vegetable protein)
  • Vegetable Starch
  • Veined cheese (may be created from molds that are of bread origin)
  • Wheat
  • Wheat Bran
  • Wheat Flour
  • Wheat-Free Products (Wheat-free does not mean gluten-free)
  • Wheat Germ
  • Wheat Grass and Barley Grass (often cross contaminated with the gluten-containing seeds when the grass is harvested)
  • Wheat Protein
  • White Pepper
  • Worcestershire sauce

Have you found any other hidden sources of gluten that aren't on this list. Please share!  Thank you!

Wishing you a happy, healthy, gluten-free day!

1.               Snyder CL, Young DO, Green PHR, Taylor AK.  Celiac Disease. Pagon RA, Bird TD, Dolan CR, Stephens K, editors. GeneReviews [Internet].  Seattle (WA): University of Washington, Seattle; 1993-2008 Jul 03.
2.               Hill, ID, Dirks MH, Liptak GS, Colletti RB, Fasano A, Guandalini S, Hoffenberg E, Horvath K, Murray JA, Pivor M, Seidman EG.  Guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease in children: recommendations of the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.  J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2005 Jan;40(1):1-19.
3.               Biagi F, Campanella J, Martucci S, Pezzimenti D, Ciclitira PJ, Ellis HJ, Corazza GR. A milligram of gluten a day keeps the mucosal recovery away: a case report. Nutr Rev. 2004 Sep;62(9):360-3.
4.               http://www.practicalgastro.com/pdf/September08/HlywiakArticle.pdf

Thursday, September 6, 2012

We Are What We Eat

"Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es." [Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are].  Physiologie du Gout, ou Meditations de Gastronomie Transcendante, 1826

Jean Anthelme Brillant-Savarin understood that what we eat impacts our state of mind and health.

Wishing you a happy, healthy day!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Is High-Fructose Corn Syrup Making Us Fat? These Facts Aren’t Sugar-Coated. The Comparison Between HFCS & Sugar

Guest Blogger:  I am very happy to introduce Ruby Schuler as a guest blogger.  Ruby was one of my fabulous fourth graders.  She was a superstar even at the age of nine.

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) can be found in various products such as cookies, sodas, crackers, and cereals.  This can make it hard to avoid when consuming processed foods and drinks.1  With all of the negative media attention HFCS gets, it is easy to think that it is not the healthiest of substances, yet it is hard to determine why HFCS is not healthy. Have you ever wondered why HFCS is in our food products instead of sugar? Is HFCS worse, health-wise, than table sugar? Is HFCS responsible for our country’s obesity epidemic? Take a look at the facts.

HFCS is now commonly used in foods in lieu of table sugar (sucrose) because it is cheaper and more stable.2,3  More than half of the sugar in the United States is derived from the sugar beet, which is grown in the cooler climates of the Midwest states.4  HFCS is made from American corn which is overly abundant and extremely cheap due to government subsidies.2  HFCS is a much more stable compound than table sugar for processed foods and beverages because it can withstand the acidic conditions these products go through when being shipped and subsequently left to sit on the shelf in a warehouse or grocery store.3  The stability of HFCS is due to its slightly different chemical composition in comparison to sucrose. Sucrose is a disaccharide, meaning that it is composed of two different single sugars, which are connected. These two single sugars are known as glucose and fructose. HFCS is made up of glucose and fructose as well; however, in HFCS these two molecules are not connected.1,3  The way in which HFCS is made is what makes the difference in composition. The process of making HFCS was perfected in the late 1960’s in Japan and involves a multiple-use enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of about half of the glucose in corn into fructose. HFCS is made up of an almost 50:50 ratio of glucose to fructose, the same ratio as sucrose.1,2,5 

The difference in the chemical structures between HFCS and sucrose has led some researchers to believe that HFCS is metabolized differently than sucrose by the body and therefore could be a cause for concern in its relationship to obesity in the United States.1,3,6  HFCS is made up of free––not connected, as in sucrose––glucose and fructose molecules.1,3  Glucose is important in signaling the regulating hormone insulin, which triggers either the release or inhibition of two other hormones that are important in appetite and satiety. These two hormones are ghrelin, which is responsible for telling your body when it is hungry and inhibited by insulin, and leptin, which is responsible for signaling to your body that it is full.  It is released by the presence of insulin, thus causing you to want to stop eating. Fructose, on the other hand, does not signal insulin to be secreted, so leptin will not be triggered; your body will not tell you when it is full.1,6  The lack of insulin secretion also leads to the buildup of fructose in the liver, because the fructose won’t be able to be taken up by other tissues in your body without insulin present in your bloodstream. Your body wants to use this buildup of sugar for energy before it uses the fat in your body for energy, which can lead to weight gain due to this hierarchy of oxidation. Several recent studies have shown that fructose specifically increases visceral fat, or the fat that surrounds your organs in the abdominal area.7  This may be due to the structure of fructose which allows for it to bypass an important regulating step in the liver. By bypassing this step, the liver then uses the fructose in other forms to create more fat.9  This is cause for concern due to the negative effects this belly fat can have on the body, mainly increasing risks for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.7  

Observational data is what sparked the original hypothesis that HFCS was related to the rising obesity epidemic in the United States. The frequent use of HFCS in products in the United States really took off in the late 1960’s; around the time its production method was being perfected. Obesity began to rise at approximately the same time as the increase in use of HFCS, causing some researchers to think that HFCS could be the cause of the obesity epidemic.1  Some experiments have investigated the hypothesis that HFCS could be responsible for the increase in obesity; however, their results have shown that the hormones insulin, ghrelin, and leptin are not affected any differently then they are by sucrose.6,8  Studies have been carried out showing that the consumption of sugary beverages, both increase visceral fat, whether sweetened with HFCS or sucrose.7

More research is needed in order to completely understand the effects HFCS has on the body. In recalling that HFCS and sucrose are both composed of the same molecules, glucose and fructose, it is important to remember that the unbound form of fructose found in HFCS could potentially be where the most devastating effects to the body occur due to the bypassed regulation of fructose in the liver. By consuming most sugar through whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, along with restricting the amount of processed foods in the diet, the harmful affects of sugar can be reduced. Those who wish to avoid weight gain should be more concerned with the amount of added sugars they are consuming (like those in processed foods and drinks) instead of the specific type, namely the amount of fructose, which has been shown to increase harmful belly fat.10

Ruby Schuler is a senior year at UC Berkeley, majoring in Nutritional Science, Dietetics. She is interested in helping others learn about the immense power food has on our bodies, either beneficial or detrimental.   Ruby knows that there is a lot of information about nutrition floating around in the media.  She thinks it's important to remember that decisions about your health should be made from reliable sources.  This information can be hard to come by, but she hopes to be one of the many people who can supply you with evidence to help you make better choices that can result in living a healthier and happier life!

1. Bray, G. A., Nielsen, S. J., & Popkin, B. M. (January 01, 2004). Consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 79, 4, 537-43. 
2. Casey, J. P. (January 01, 1977). High Fructose Corn Syrup. A Case History of Innovation. Starch - Stärke, 29, 6, 196-204.   
3. White, J. S. (January 01, 2008). Straight talk about high-fructose corn syrup: what it is and what it ain't. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 88, 6.
4. Ali, Mir B. (October 01, 2004). Characteristics and Production Costs of U.S. Sugarbeet Farms. United States Department of Agriculture: Economic Research Service, 974-8
5. Bemiller, J. N. (September 23, 2009). One hundred years of commercial food carbohydrates in the United States. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 57, 18, 8125-8129. 
6. Melanson, K. J., Zukley, L., Lowndes, J., Nguyen, V., Angelopoulos, T. J., & Rippe, J. M. (February 01, 2007). Effects of high-fructose corn syrup and sucrose consumption on circulating glucose, insulin, leptin, and ghrelin and on appetite in normal-weight women. Nutrition, 23, 2, 103-112.    
7. Liebman, Bonnie (April 01, 2012). Sugar Belly: How Much Sugar is Too Much Sugar? Nutrition Action, 3-7.
8. Stanhope, K. L., Swarbrick, M. M., Havel, P. J., Bair, B. R., Griffen, S. C., & Keim, N. L. (May 01, 2008). Twenty-four-hour endocrine and metabolic profiles following consumption of high-fructose corn syrup-, sucrose-, fructose-, and glucose-sweetened beverages with meals. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 87, 5, 1194-1203.
9.  Elliott, S.S., Keim, N.L., Stern, J. S., Teff, K., Havel, P.J.  Fructose, weight gain, and the insulin resistance syndrome.  Am J Clin Nutr November 2002 vol. 76 no. 5 911-922.
10.  White, J.S.  Straight talk about high-fructose corn syrup: what it is and what it ain't.  Am J Clin Nutr December 2008 vol. 88 no. 6 1716S-1721S.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Connection Between Celiac Disease and Infertility

Are you or anyone you know struggling with infertility?  Celiac disease is associated with infertility in both men and women. Clinically, women with celiac disease can also present with amenorrhea, delayed menarche (a delay in the onset of the first period) and menstrual irregularities, miscarriage, fewer live births, endometriosis, severe anemia during pregnancy and other pregnancy complications.1,2,3,4  Celiac disease may initially present during pregnancy or post partum.1,4  Celiac disease in men may also contribute to children born prematurely or with lower birthrates.  In pregnancy, celiac disease is associated with a high rate of miscarriage, delayed intrauterine growth, low birth weight and premature births.  "There is reasonably good evidence to suggest that the rate of adverse outcomes is reduced with early diagnosis and treatment with gluten free diet." "All women with unexplained infertility should be tested for celiac disease."4

Wishing you a happy, healthy, gluten-free day!

1 Farrell RJ, Kelly CP. Celiac Sprue.  N Engl J Med. 2002 Jan 17;346(3):180-8.
2 Bai J, Zeballos E, Fried M, Corazza GR, Schuppan D, Farthing MJG, Catassi C, Greco L, Cohen H, Krabshuis
3 Stephansson O, Falconer H, Ludvigsson JF. Risk of endometriosis in 11,000 women with celiac disease. Hum Reprod. 2011 Oct;26(10):2896-901. Epub 2011 Aug 12.
4  Shah S, Leffler D. Celiac disease: an underappreciated issue in women’s health. Womens Health (Lond Engl). 2010 Sep;6(5):753-66. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Who Should be tested for Celiac Disease?

Great information from Dr. Tom O'Bryan at www.thedr.com. 

Any and every person with prolonged fatigue ('tired all the time') should be tested for Celiac Disease.

                                                     ~National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Feeding Disease or Fighting It

A great quote by Heather Morgan, MS, NLC about the how important it is to make healthy food choices.

"Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it." ~ Heather Morgan, MS, NLC