The amount of gluten that can be tolerated varies among people with celiac disease. In general, research suggests that less than 10 milligrams (mg) of gluten daily is unlikely to cause significant damage to the intestines in most celiac people. However, these small amounts could still be enough to make a person feel unwell.
So how small is 10 mg? A dime weighs about 2,200 mg (2.2 g). Tricia Thompson, RD, a celiac disease authority, explains that a one-ounce slice of regular white bread has approximately 3,515 mg of gluten, or 351 times the maximum daily amount that’s safe for celiac children. That means even a crumb is too much!
Now, this doesn’t mean that you can cut a slice of bread into 350 little crumbs and feed your child one of them; even if your child’s diet is otherwise gluten-free, chances are good that he’s still getting some gluten daily. Regulations in most parts of the world allow a product to be labeled gluten-free if it contains up to 20 parts per million of gluten (equivalent to about 20 mg per kilo). Even a slice of gluten-free bread contains a little over 1/2 mg of gluten.
It can be a challenge saying no to your child when he wants “just a little” bit of a gluten-containing product, especially on special occasions. After all, that bite-size candy looks pretty small—how much gluten could it possibly contain? However, sticking to an entirely gluten-free diet is not only the best way, but the only way, to ensure your child’s gluten intake is at a safe level.
From our home to yours, Tina Turbin.