Coffee and Celiac Disease

There is a rumor circulating on the iternet that Starbucks coffee is not safe for Celiacs. Coffee lovers rejoice! It is not so! Let's begin with the coffee grounds. Although they may be processed in a plant where other foods are processed, they are not a likely source of contaminaion. In fact, several brands of ground coffees were tested by Gluten-free Watchdog and were found to be well below the 20ppm level. In fact, those tested were only about 5ppm. So, the grounds and the machine the coffee is brewed in will not be a risk for cross contamination. There are a number of flavorings and syrups added to Starbucks coffees. The ingredients in these syrups are clearly listed on the company's website. Go to the homepage and click on "Menu". Then click on the beverage about which you have questions. In addition, Starbucks follows the FDA Food Allergy Labeling Consumer Protection Act. If wheat is in a product or an ingredient containing wheat is in the product, it will be indicated on the website. Java chips contain artificial flavor. Although artificial flavors are sometimes made from textured wheat protein, an email to the customer service email line inidcated that these do not. Barley is always listed as barley or malt. A quick review of ingredients would indicate if barley were present. Starbucks is acknowledging the importance of gluten-free offerings by introducing a gluten-free egg and Canadian bacon sandwich. The sandwich is prepared in a gluten-free facility and wrapped for distribution. So, grab a cup of your favorite Starbucks brew and a sandwich for breakfast!

    It is also untrue that antibodies to gluten cross-react with proteins from other foods. There is a lab claiming to test for cross-reactivity but there is no research to suppor this. Antibodies to gluten are very specific. They are produced in response to a specific sequence of amino acids.( Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.) Antibodies to gluten will not be produced unless that specific sequence is present. A food would need to have this specific pattern to cause the production of antibodies.There are a number of reasons why symptoms persist even when following a gluten-free diet. First and foremost, the body needs to heal.  Secondly, there may be other sensitivities associated with Celiac but caused indirectly. Lactose intolerance often accompanies Celiac because the gluten destroys the cells which will break down the lactose in milk. This is not the same as having antibodies to milk proteins.

(Disclaimer - I do not have any affiliation to Starbucks)