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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

No Gluten in Blue Cheese

As a self-educated expert I depend upon the knowledge of others, so if they're wrong I'm wrong. That forces me to have a highly developed detector for anything that sounds even slightly off. I always doublecheck those claims before I accept them.

You'd think that celebrities intruding into the field would have highly paid people to do that work for them. Far too great a percentage of the time, they amass information rather than rigorously filtering it.

Case in point: The View correspondent Elizabeth Hasselbeck and Oprah favorite Dr. Idiot Oz. Oz had Hasselbeck on his show to discuss gluten-free eating, because, wonders of wonders, she has a book out. But neither one of them seems to have done their homework.

On Chicago, Patricia Biesen wondered:

This week Dr. Oz devoted a show to celiac disease featuring Elizabeth Hasselbeck. For the record, the only thing I have in common with Ms. Hasselbeck is that we both avoid wheat in our diets. A lot of GF experts don't agree completely with her book, The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide as she claims certain foods like blue cheese contain gluten. I'm not sure how moldy cheese can contain gluten but judge for yourself.

The link goes to Dr. Oz's website, which claims:
Gluten can also hide in other foods and food products like bacon bits, blue cheese, beer, flavored coffee, licorice and soy sauce.

So what do real gluten-free experts say?

I just happen to have in front of me the new issue of Gluten-Free Living. And they have an article specifically about blue cheese, which says:
You have probably heard or read that clue cheese is off limits for celiacs because moldy bread is used to produce the blue veins. That's how it was done in the past. But there is reason to believe that the process has been supplanted by one that relies on lab-grown cultures. ...

[T]he Canadian Celiac Association did extensive testing on several types of blue cheese. They used three types of tests on five samples of different blue cheeses, testing each sample three times. In all cases, no detectable gluten was found. ...

So, the facts are in on blue cheese. It would be safe for those on a gluten-free diet even when the mold the produces it has been grown on bread.

Blue cheese is often cited as one of the relatively low-lactose cheese varieties as well. That means it can be on both diets' lists, though obviously not if you're allergic to dairy protein.

Try also to be allergic to what celebrities say. Take the word of those of us who anonymously toil to get the real information and the correct facts out to you.

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