Welcome!

News Feed Item

The Truth About Gluten

Gluten-Free Facts From the Experts

MISSION, KS -- (Marketwired) -- 05/07/14 -- (Family Features) Celebrities, athletes, talk show hosts and nearly 30 percent of people say they are turning to gluten-free diets to solve health issues from "foggy mind" to bloating and obesity.

But before you throw out the flour or start embracing all things non-wheat, barley and rye, it's important to consider that nutrition experts do not advocate a gluten-free diet for most people. In fact, at least 93 percent of people -- and probably many more -- are completely healthy and happy following a diet that includes wheat and its protein, gluten.

According to Dr. Stephano Guandalini, founder and director of the Center for Celiac Disease at the University of Chicago, "There is a popular belief that gluten is bad for everyone. This is not the case. There is no evidence to show that anyone who does not suffer from celiac disease (CD) or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) benefits from following a gluten-free diet."

Gluten: Wheat Protein Explained
Gluten is a protein matrix in wheat formed by gliadin and glutenin. It's also present in barley and rye, and their many ancient grain ancestors. Gluten's structure forms pockets that trap carbon dioxide released by leavening agents, such as yeast, baking powder or baking soda, giving bread and baked goods their texture. Gluten-free breads and products are denser and heavier because they can't form air pockets without gluten.

Wheat and Gluten Facts
Celiac disease, an autoimmune disease, is very real and affects about 1 in 141 people -- less than 1 percent of the population. For people who have celiac, even a small amount of gluten is unsafe. When they eat it, their bodies immediately react, damaging the lining of their intestinal tract. The damage allows many proteins and other substances to enter the blood stream that should not, setting up physical reactions and digestive problems with serious health consequences.

Incidences of all autoimmune diseases are on the increase, with CD four times more common than it was 60 years ago. Research is being conducted by a number of leading medical and scientific institutions to investigate if changes in our gut bacteria might be the cause.

"It's very important that people who have celiac get diagnosed and tested so that they can begin following a gluten-free diet as soon as possible. And, it's something they have to stay on for the rest of their lives," said Dr. Joseph Murray, celiac disease researcher at the Mayo Clinic.

A Rare Condition
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is the other condition that proponents of a wheat-free lifestyle say affects everyone when in fact, research indicates that it, too, is quite rare. According to Dr. Guandalini, "Around 0.5 percent of people react to gluten in a way that is not a food allergy but is also not celiac."

Dr. Alessio Fasano, one of the world's top scientists in celiac disease and director of the Center for Celiac Research at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Mass., explained, "Some people simply don't react well to gluten and feel better when it's removed from the diet. Unfortunately, there is no test for NCGS and this is part of why going gluten-free has become 'the' answer to all that ails us digestively and otherwise. It's unfortunate because there are a lot of causes besides gluten for digestive issues."

Understanding Gluten-Free Diets
"Following a gluten-free diet is very difficult and one must know how to read labels. Foods such as broths, soups, gravies, sauces, seasoned rice mixes and seasoned tortilla or potato chips may contain small amounts of gluten," said Tricia Thompson, registered dietitian and founder of the Gluten Free Watch Dog. "The new FDA labeling rules define 'gluten-free' foods as having less than 20 parts per million of gluten. This is extremely helpful for people with celiac disease or NCGS who must avoid all gluten, even in tiny amounts."

The Topic of Weight Management
According to the NPD Group, a leading market research firm that has followed nutrition trends for more than 20 years, the biggest driver behind the gluten-free trend is weight loss. In addition, gluten-free products can be significantly more expensive -- one study showed an average of 242 percent higher in cost.

"Eliminating wheat products (bread, rolls, cereals, pasta, tortillas, cakes, cookies, crackers) will result in fewer calories, but important nutrients like B-vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folic acid), and iron and fiber will also be lost," said Pam Cureton with Boston's Center for Celiac Research and chair of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' sub-practice group, Dietitians in Gluten Intolerance Diseases (DIGID). "Grains provide 43 percent of the fiber in the U.S. diet and wheat is approximately three-quarters of the grains eaten in the U.S. Nutritionally, many gluten-free products are not equal replacements for their wheat-containing counterparts." Cureton recommends that anyone thinking about starting a gluten-free diet see a skilled dietitian first to be sure it is nutritionally sound and to help guide them through the difficulties of the diet.

Facts About Wheat Breeding
Some promoters of the gluten-free lifestyle say that recent wheat breeding practices have led to higher, more "toxic" types of wheat. They believe that such practices are increasing the rates of celiac and gluten sensitivity, even though you must have a gene to develop celiac disease.

"Wheat, like all other food plants we eat, has undergone farmer selection and traditional breeding over the years," states Brett Carver, PhD, wheat genetics chair in Agriculture at Oklahoma State University. "The hybridization that led to bread wheat occurred 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. All cultivated wheat varieties, both modern and heirloom varieties, have these hybridization events in common, so the kinds of protein (and gluten) present in today's varieties reflect the proteins present throughout the domestication process of wheat."

In case there is any doubt of this, scientists have carefully reviewed available data back to 1925 and have not found any evidence supporting increased gluten content due to wheat breeding over the past century. Dr. Guandalini, like many other celiac specialists, is frustrated by the myths about wheat that are promoted by talk show hosts, articles and websites.

"Genetically modified wheat is not commercially available anywhere in the world," said Guandalini. "Wheat has been, and continues to be, a life-saving and nutritious grain for most people."

Gluten-Free: The Bottom Line
Most of us can eat and enjoy the many varieties of wheat foods available to us. And, luckily, for the few of us who can't, there are gluten-free options.

"The increased awareness by the food industry of the need for gluten-free foods has helped provide many options for those on gluten-free diets. There are more choices and better tasting products every day," said Amy Jones, dietitian at Mary Rutan Hospital, Bellefontaine, Ohio, and chair-elect of DIGID.

But for the vast majority of us, going gluten-free can be expensive, less nutritious and just plain unnecessary. The bottom line: gluten is a complex plant protein found in some of our favorite foods, and most of us have been tolerating it for thousands of years.

For more information, visit www.wheatfoods.org.

About Family Features Editorial Syndicate
This and other food and lifestyle content can be found at www.editors.familyfeatures.com. Family Features is a leading provider of free food and lifestyle content for use in print and online publications. Register with no obligation to access a variety of formatted and unformatted features, accompanying photos, and automatically updating Web content solutions.

Image Available: http://www2.marketwire.com/mw/frame_mw?attachid=2586798

Add to Digg Bookmark with del.icio.us Add to Newsvine

More Stories By Marketwired .

Copyright © 2009 Marketwired. All rights reserved. All the news releases provided by Marketwired are copyrighted. Any forms of copying other than an individual user's personal reference without express written permission is prohibited. Further distribution of these materials is strictly forbidden, including but not limited to, posting, emailing, faxing, archiving in a public database, redistributing via a computer network or in a printed form.

Latest Stories
Without a clear strategy for cost control and an architecture designed with cloud services in mind, costs and operational performance can quickly get out of control. To avoid multiple architectural redesigns requires extensive thought and planning. Boundary (now part of BMC) launched a new public-facing multi-tenant high resolution monitoring service on Amazon AWS two years ago, facing challenges and learning best practices in the early days of the new service. In his session at 19th Cloud Exp...
"Venafi has a platform that allows you to manage, centralize and automate the complete life cycle of keys and certificates within the organization," explained Gina Osmond, Sr. Field Marketing Manager at Venafi, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Effectively SMBs and government programs must address compounded regulatory compliance requirements. The most recent are Controlled Unclassified Information and the EU's GDPR have Board Level implications. Managing sensitive data protection will likely result in acquisition criteria, demonstration requests and new requirements. Developers, as part of the pre-planning process and the associated supply chain, could benefit from updating their code libraries and design by incorporating changes. In...
"Coalfire is a cyber-risk, security and compliance assessment and advisory services firm. We do a lot of work with the cloud service provider community," explained Ryan McGowan, Vice President, Sales (West) at Coalfire Systems, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Regulatory requirements exist to promote the controlled sharing of information, while protecting the privacy and/or security of the information. Regulations for each type of information have their own set of rules, policies, and guidelines. Cloud Service Providers (CSP) are faced with increasing demand for services at decreasing prices. Demonstrating and maintaining compliance with regulations is a nontrivial task and doing so against numerous sets of regulatory requirements can be daunting task...
CloudJumper, a Workspace as a Service (WaaS) platform innovator for agile business IT, has been recognized with the Customer Value Leadership Award for its nWorkSpace platform by Frost & Sullivan. The company was also featured in a new report(1) by the industry research firm titled, “Desktop-as-a-Service Buyer’s Guide, 2016,” which provides a comprehensive comparison of DaaS providers, including CloudJumper, Amazon, VMware, and Microsoft.
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
Fact: storage performance problems have only gotten more complicated, as applications not only have become largely virtualized, but also have moved to cloud-based infrastructures. Storage performance in virtualized environments isn’t just about IOPS anymore. Instead, you need to guarantee performance for individual VMs, helping applications maintain performance as the number of VMs continues to go up in real time. In his session at Cloud Expo, Dhiraj Sehgal, Product and Marketing at Tintri, sha...
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web ...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes how...
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his general session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Phil Hombledal, Solution Architect at CollabNet, discussed how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that e...
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their backend AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT - especially in the connected home and office. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Kocher, founder and managing director of Grey Heron, explained how Amazon is extending its reach to become a major force in IoT by building on its dominant cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strat...