If you do not have gluten or you are simply trying to eat less carbohydrates, this recipe is perfect.

About a year ago, Jessica Mahar, who was diagnosed with celiac disease around 2005, fell ill at a local restaurant because the menu said the dish contained gluten-free brown rice, but was actually served with gluten-containing farro. .

Even if a restaurant's menu says that an item does not contain gluten, new research says there's a good chance that some gluten will end up on your plate. According to a new study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, 32 percent of foods labeled gluten-free contain gluten.

Eating gluten, a protein found in some grains, is dangerous for some people, while for others with gluten intolerance or sensitivity to gluten, this causes a variety of painful and embarrbading consequences. Symptoms include abdominal distension, chronic diarrhea or constipation, vomiting, fatigue and gas.

"You always take a risk, and at the same time, many restaurants try to serve people with different types of dietary needs," said Marhar, an executive at a non-profit organization. "I'm not afraid, but … it's easier to keep track of simple ingredients."

The researchers also found:

  • The worst offenders were pizzas and pasta, with gluten in 53.2% of pizza samples and 50.8% of the pasta badyzed.
  • The detection rate was higher at dinner, 34%, than at breakfast, 27.2%.
  • Restaurant foods labeled as gluten-free, or GF, were less likely to test positive for gluten in the western part of the United States than in the Northeast.
  • Restaurants identified as fast-casual (no table service, higher-quality foods than traditional fast-food restaurants) and informal (with table service) had lower detection rates than fast food places.

Pizza (Photo: Romualdo Crissi, Getty Images / iStockphoto)

No restaurant was cited by name.

The Nima portable gluten badyzer was used in the study. Its manufacturer has links to some of the authors of Columbia University and a co-founder of the company is one of the authors.

"We all want people to be alert, but not too worried," said lead author Dr. Benjamin Lerner. "If you have celiac disease or it's harmful for you to eat gluten, you should feel comfortable asking the waiter how things are prepared."

A Nima device uses a pea-sized food sample to test for gluten present; Detects gluten at levels below 20 parts per million.

Under a regulation of the US Food and Drug Administration. UU That came into force in 2014, a food must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten if the manufacturer wants to label it gluten-free.

The results of the researchers may not reflect the entire food of gluten-free restaurants, the Celiac Disease Foundation said in a statement on the study. "Nima users may have tasted more of the foods they suspected were contaminated, potentially resulting in a higher proportion of foods with positive results, but these results are convincing evidence of the challenges of maintaining a strict diet. and gluten-free. "

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It is estimated that 1 in 100 people worldwide suffer from celiac disease, according to the National Institutes of Health. In addition, the Mayo Clinic research in 2017 found that 3.1 million Americans avoid gluten, although they do not have celiacs, a number that tripled between 2009 and 2014.

The global market for gluten-free products, with an estimated value of $ 4.72 billion in 2017, is expected to reach some $ 7.6 billion by 2024, according to Zion Market Research, based in New York.

Lerner said the gluten detected in the foods in the study probably comes from cross-contamination, such as using the same pots to cook pasta that contains gluten and then gluten-free noodles. The way to solve this is to educate restaurant workers about the importance of preparing gluten-free foods separately and wash the food preparation areas before starting with gluten-free dishes.

"Being hyper-active to avoid gluten is badociated with a higher rate of anxiety," Lerner said. "We do not want to alarm too much, but we want to raise awareness."

The researchers badyzed 18 months of data: 5,624 tests performed by 804 Nima users across the country who were willing to share the results of their tests.

Follow the USA TODAY reporter Zlati Meyer on Twitter: @ZlatiMeyer

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