Canary, a New Gluten-Detecting Device, Could Test Your Food for Wheat Before You Eat it

TATTINGSTONE, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 10: Wheat is grown in dry conditions in East Anglia on June 10, 2011 near Tattingstone, England. The government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has recorded large areas of East Anglia, the Midlands and southern England as officially suffering a drought following unusually dry spring weather. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Source: Oli Scarff/Getty Images News/Getty Images

In a world of cronuts and burritos and Fireball, it's really hard finding gluten-free or non-wheat-contaminated food for those who suffer from Celiac's disease or gluten intolerance. But Shireen Yates, a MBA student at MIT, has developed an idea for something called the Canary device, which tests your food for gluten in just minutes. That's right, people. This could potentially mean there would be no more guessing whether the chips the waiter left at your table are wheat or corn, no more stress about whether that gluten-free cookie is actually gluten free, no more sleepless, bloated nights all because a rogue crouton snuck into your lunch salad. 

The device is about the size of a Walkman (if any of us actually remember what that size is), and is being developed by 6SensorLabs. It will not only test your food for gluten, but will also record the results for your own personal use and combine them with the results of thousands of other users to create maps of where gluten-free food can be found. There's no official launch date for the Canary yet, but Yates predicts the sensor will go on the market for about $200. 

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For reasons that continue to elude me, issues surrounding gluten sensitivity have been a hot topic of debate recently, with all sorts of articles and studies showing that gluten sensitivity isn't real and that the vomiting, and bloating, and severe headaches I only seem to get after I eat or drink something with gluten in it is all in my head. The study people like to reference to back up this point of view suggests that symptoms people attach to gluten sensitivity don't actually come from gluten itself but are caused by poorly digested carbs called FODMAPS. What people who reference this study conveniently forget to mention is that foods in which gluten is found like wheat, barley, and rye are all high in FODMAPS, making gluten pretty relevant to this sensitivity. The haters can keep hating, because as soon as the Canary hits the market, Celiac and gluten-sensitive people will unite and there will be no stopping us.

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