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What is Gluten and Dairy Intolerance? What is the difference between an allergy and intolerance/sensitivity. Latest medical research. Open to the public.
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TOPIC: Gluten-Free Formulations lack essential nutrients

Gluten-Free Formulations lack essential nutrients 05 Jun 2009 11:51 #600

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from foodnavigator-usa.com

Many gluten-free formulations lack essential nutrients
By Caroline Scott-Thomas, 04-Jun-2009
Related topics: Science & Nutrition, Cereals and bakery preparations

Food manufacturers’ efforts to formulate gluten-free foods could leave celiacs’ diets short of essential nutrients, according to an article from Harvard Medical School.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder with symptoms triggered by gluten, the protein in wheat, barley, rye and spelt. The only treatment currently available is to avoid gluten-containing foods and, as a result of increased diagnosis of the condition, combined with increased popularity of gluten-free diets for perceived health benefits, the market for gluten-free products has rocketed.

The Harvard Health Letter said that as food manufacturers have looked to profit from the trend, and learned to use xanthan and guar gums to replace gluten’s elasticity in gluten-free formulations, diets can end up lacking essential nutrients including fiber and B vitamins.

Improved texture

The problem is with increased palatability of gluten-free foods containing starch from rice, corn and potatoes – which contain relatively lower levels of fiber and nutrients – through the addition of gums. Powdery product consistency has been a common complaint regarding gluten-free foods and gums have helped to resolve the issue, but as people increasingly turn to products made with gluten substitutes, their diets could suffer, the letter said.

The concern was raised by Melinda Dennis, nutrition coordinator at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Celiac Center, who said that celiac patients should look to “unconventional but nutritionally well-rounded substitutes” for gluten-containing grains, like amaranth, buckwheat, teff, millet, quinoa and sorghum. She calls these the “super six” because of their high nutritional value.

Dennis added that another option for celiacs is to choose “celiac-friendly” cuisines, like Indian, Thai, Mexican and Ethiopian (which uses teff).

Why gluten-free?

The letter split those choosing gluten-free diets into three camps.

Firstly, it said that gluten-free food is becoming more popular partly because of increased awareness and diagnosis of celiac disease. Then it mentions a “gray area” of those who do not have celiac disease but who “seem to be unable to digest gluten properly”. Regarding this group, the letter said: “It’s hard to know what’s going on. Some people may be getting caught up in a food fad. But many others probably do have a real problem digesting gluten or perhaps the sugars in some of these grains.”

Finally, it mentions a third group who blame gluten for a wide range of medical problems.

“For example, there’s a fairly loud internet ‘buzz’ about autistic children improving once they’re on a gluten-free diet,” it said. “…But based on what’s currently known, it’s a big leap to attributing autism and other problems to gluten, and an even bigger one to prescribing gluten-free eating as a treatment.”

Market research organization Packaged Facts clearly sees the trend toward gluten-free formulations as more than a fad, estimating that sales of gluten-free products will reach $2.6bn by 2012.

In a recent report, it said that the gluten-free market has grown at an average annual rate of 28 percent since 2004, when it was valued at $580m, to reach $1.56bn last year.

While only 40,000 to 60,000 Americans are diagnosed as celiac, the federal government estimates that there could be as many as 3m who are undiagnosed – or just under one percent of the population.

Source: https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Health_Letter/2009/June/Getting-out-the-gluten  

Gluten-Free Formulations lack essential nutrients 08 Jun 2009 14:09 #601

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Good article, this makes total sense to me. Every time I read the nutrition information on a gluten-free product is seems void of nutrition.

I would like to try some of the grains mentioned, quinoa is the only one I've actually seen in the store, where would I find amaranth, teff, millet and sorghum? Do you have any recipes?

Gluten-Free Formulations lack essential nutrients 08 Jun 2009 19:45 #602

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Hi Danni,

Most of those seeds/grains will be located in the health market section in your grocery store or you may want to order them on-line. Ask someone in your grocery store if they have a gluten-free section, many grocery chains are starting to carry them. Bob's Red Mill makes quite a few gf flours now, hit this link to take you directly to Bob's Red Mill Gluten-free products.  You can order on-line directly from them if you can't find those grains, flours on the shelf at your store.

You might also want to look into this website Authentic foods for more flours, mixes and recipes. There are many more companies that produce gluten-free grains and flours. here's another link you may find handy; and of course you'll find a ton of gf recipes in the recipe section here with links to other recommended gf websites.

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