Sourdough Wheat Bread is NOT Safe for Folks with Celiac Disease

Sourdough Wheat Bread is NOT Safe for Folks with Celiac Disease

Gluten Free Watchdog has tested three artisanal sourdough breads for gluten. We will not be testing any additional varieties. As the test results prove, wheat-based sourdough bread, including those made in small bakeries by artisanal bakers contains a lot of gluten and should not be eaten by anyone with a gluten related disorder. Full Stop.

Test results:

  • Product: Dan the Baker Country Sourdough Bread
  • Test date: April 2015
  • Why product was tested:  At the time of testing the bakery website included a page entitled “Sourdough for Celiacs”which as of April 6, 2015 stated: “A recent study based out of Italy shows that 80% of those with doctor-confirmed celiac disease can eat sourdough bread every day and experience no adverse symptoms. In sourdough bread, the concentration of gluten is decreased by about 97% …Eating sourdough can be a safe and healthy way to consume grains for nearly everyone, even 80% of those diagnosed with celiac disease as evidenced by the Italian study.”*
  • Ingredients: Water, Wheat flour, Ohio whole wheat flour, Sea salt, Wild yeast, Brown rice flour, Olive oil–trace amounts
  • Test results using the sandwich R5 ELISA (measures intact gluten): 104,000 parts per million of gluten

 

  • Product: Purbread Gluten Neutralized Bread
  • Test date: March 2016
  • Why product was tested: At the time of testing, literature in the bread display area read: Neutralized is defined by the manufacturer as making something ineffective or harmless. “Gluten now has been neutralized.” The manufacturer was also claiming that “celiacs” enjoy his bread without reaction.
  • Ingredients: Sour dough starter, Gluten neutralized white winter wheat, Raw pure honey, Pure maple syrup, Pure canola oil, Sea salt
  • Test results using the sandwich R5 ELISA: > 84 ppm gluten
  • Test results using the competitive R5 ELISA (used to detect gluten protein fragments): > 283 ppm gluten
  • Note: The actual gluten level of this bread is likely much higher. We did not have the lab dilute the sample to bring the results in line with the standard curve as we did with the loaf of sourdough bread from Dan the Baker. It is not necessary to have the lab run additional tests to know that this bread is not safe for individuals with celiac disease or other gluten-related disorders.

 

  • Product: Leaven Breads 100% Sourdough Bread
  • Test date: February 2018
  • Why product was tested: At the time of testing the website read, “There is a growing body of science showing how the sourdough process produces bread that can be handled by those with gluten-sensitivities, even though the bread isn’t gluten-free. If diagnosed with celiac disease, you should avoid this and all bread made with wheat flour. For more information, check out this article on the history of sourdough and celiac disease.” At the time of testing the homepage also read, “All our breads our sourdough, but they are not sour.  We believe in the power of local fermentation to leaven our doughs without the use of commercial yeast.  This creates a more complex flavor with a long proofing process and breaks down the gluten in flour naturally.”
  • Ingredients: Flour, Water, Salt
  • Test results using the sandwich R5 ELISA: > 84 ppm gluten
  • Test results using the competitive R5 ELISA: > 283 ppm gluten
  • Note: As with Purbread, the actual gluten level of this bread is likely much higher. We did not have the lab dilute the sample to bring the results in line with the standard curve as we did with the loaf of sourdough bread from Dan the Baker. It is not necessary to have the lab run additional tests to know that this bread is not safe for individuals with celiac disease or other gluten-related disorders.

* The study referenced on the Dan the Baker website is a 2011 study by researchers Greco et al.

  • What the researchers actually report: When two study participants ate baked goods made using extensively hydrolyzed flour (gluten reduced 97% and containing 2,480 ppm gluten) no clinical complaints were reported BUT they developed SUBTOTAL ATROPHY of their intestinal mucosa. In other words (and not surprisingly) these products are NOT safe for people with celiac disease. The researchers write, “Two CD patients consumed 200 g of S1BG that contained ~ 2480 +/- 86 ppm of residual gluten. They had no clinical complaints during the 60 days. One showed increased antibodies and both showed increased CD3 and gamma-delta intraepithelial lymphocytes with subtotal atrophy after challenge.”
  • The products that the study researchers believe may have potential use in gluten-free diets are those that have been fully hydrolyzed (8 parts per million of gluten) through sourdough lactobacilli and fungal proteases.
  • To read the full article, click HERE.

Please feel free to share this post with any bakers who claim their artisanal wheat-based sourdough bread is okay for folks with a gluten related disorder.

 

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Comments (13)

  • Helen Weems
    Reply

    I always appreciate your scientific findings, in a world dominated by internet blather. Very helpful!

    February 19, 2018 at 4:38 pm
  • Ken Reply

    Thank you again for your hard work and advocacy.

    February 19, 2018 at 6:04 pm
  • Ann Reply

    You’re always on the ball Tricia and we appreciate it!

    February 19, 2018 at 11:58 pm
  • Sharon kane Reply

    The first time I heard that sourdough wheat was safe for celiacs, I said “show me the test data”. Especially since my home baked sourdough rye bread was making me sick. Gave up all gluten and got my life back. Thanks for testing these terribly unsafe breads. Meanwhile I developed a gluten free sourdough technique and a have small baking business in my own dedicated gfree facility. You never know where your journey will take you.

    February 20, 2018 at 1:48 am
  • Jean Reply

    Tricia –
    Thanks for your efforts in protecting the celiac community.

    February 20, 2018 at 1:23 pm
  • Maureen Burke Reply

    Tricia, can I share this link in my newsletter?

    February 20, 2018 at 4:56 pm
  • Nicole Reply

    Did you check how long the fermentation time of these products was?

    May 14, 2018 at 6:16 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      All 3 of these breads are artisanal with supposedly long fermentations. None of them are close to being gluten-free.

      May 14, 2018 at 7:02 pm

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