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Howard G. Smith, M.D. is a former radio medical editor and talk show host in the Boston Metro area.  His "Medical Minute" of health and wellness news and commentary was a regular weekday feature on WBZ-AM, WRKO-AM, and WMRE-AM.   His popular two-way talk show, Dr. Howard Smith OnCall, was regularly heard Sunday morning and middays on WBZ.

More recently, Dr. Smith has adopted the 21st century technology of audio and video podcasting as conduits for the short health and wellness reports, HEALTH NEWS YOU SHOULD USE.  Many of these have video versions, and they may be found on his YouTube page:

Trained at Harvard Medical School and a long-time faculty member at Boston Children’s Hospital, he practiced Pediatric Otolaryngology for 40 years in Boston, Southern California, and in central Connecticut.

If you have questions or suggestions about this content, please email the doctor at or leave him a message at 516-778-8864.  His website is:

Please note that the news, views, commentary, and opinions that Dr. Smith provides are for informational purposes only.  Any changes that you or members of your family contemplate making to lifestyle, diet, medications, or medical therapy should always be discussed beforehand with personal physicians who have been supervising your care.

Apr 11, 2019


So you have celiac disease, the most severe form of gluten sensitivity, and exposure to the wheat protein can make you terribly sick.  You avoid any wheat products at home, and you carefully choose restaurants that certify their food to be gluten-free.  Just how good is their certification.

Not very good say studies just published by gastroenterologists at Columbia med school and the NY Presbyterian Hospital.  Their data comes from users of the Nima Gluten Sensor that diners can use to self-test food labeled as gluten free.  In a review of more than 5600 tests by some 800 users over 18 months, gluten was detected in 53% of gluten-free pizza, 51% of gluten-free. pasta, 27% of breakfasts, 29% of lunches, and 34% of dinners.

Here’s the catch: the device is extremely sensitive detecting gluten levels as low as 5 to 10 parts per million (ppm).  In the US, food certified as gluten-free can contain up to 20 ppm, and less than that may not be clinically significant.

Still, the data is sobering, and the byword is buyer beware.  If you have celiac disease and dine out, be certain that your server and also the manager know you must have gluten-free food, check that the restaurant has separate fryers for gluten-free foods, and keep your order simple trying to avoid foods that may be contaminated with gluten.

Benjamin A. Lerner, Lynn T. Phan Vo, Shireen Yates, Andrew G. Rundle, Peter H.R. Green, Benjamin Lebwohl. Detection of Gluten in Gluten-Free Labeled Restaurant Food. The American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2019; 1 DOI: 10.14309/ajg.0000000000000202

#Celiac #gluten #glutenfree #wheat