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
Sometimes I write a blog just to formulate and organize a point of view, and I think it’s time that I pull together the bounty of excellent information about Machine Learning. This is a topic with which business leaders must become comfortable, especially tomorrow’s business leaders (tip for my next semester University of San Francisco business students!). Machine learning is a key capability that will help organizations drive optimization and monetization opportunities, and there have been some...
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, provided a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to oper...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
"Storpool does only block-level storage so we do one thing extremely well. The growth in data is what drives the move to software-defined technologies in general and software-defined storage," explained Boyan Ivanov, CEO and co-founder at StorPool, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
ChatOps is an emerging topic that has led to the wide availability of integrations between group chat and various other tools/platforms. Currently, HipChat is an extremely powerful collaboration platform due to the various ChatOps integrations that are available. However, DevOps automation can involve orchestration and complex workflows. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Himanshu Chhetri, CTO at Addteq, will cover practical examples and use cases such as self-provisioning infra...
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory? In her Day 2 Keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Aruna Ravichandran, VP, DevOps Solutions Marketing, CA Technologies, was jo...
As Marc Andreessen says software is eating the world. Everything is rapidly moving toward being software-defined – from our phones and cars through our washing machines to the datacenter. However, there are larger challenges when implementing software defined on a larger scale - when building software defined infrastructure. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Boyan Ivanov, CEO of StorPool, provided some practical insights on what, how and why when implementing "software-defined" in the datacent...
Blockchain. A day doesn’t seem to go by without seeing articles and discussions about the technology. According to PwC executive Seamus Cushley, approximately $1.4B has been invested in blockchain just last year. In Gartner’s recent hype cycle for emerging technologies, blockchain is approaching the peak. It is considered by Gartner as one of the ‘Key platform-enabling technologies to track.’ While there is a lot of ‘hype vs reality’ discussions going on, there is no arguing that blockchain is b...
Blockchain is a shared, secure record of exchange that establishes trust, accountability and transparency across business networks. Supported by the Linux Foundation's open source, open-standards based Hyperledger Project, Blockchain has the potential to improve regulatory compliance, reduce cost as well as advance trade. Are you curious about how Blockchain is built for business? In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, discussed the b...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
Is advanced scheduling in Kubernetes achievable?Yes, however, how do you properly accommodate every real-life scenario that a Kubernetes user might encounter? How do you leverage advanced scheduling techniques to shape and describe each scenario in easy-to-use rules and configurations? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Oleg Chunikhin, CTO at Kublr, answered these questions and demonstrated techniques for implementing advanced scheduling. For example, using spot instances and co...
The use of containers by developers -- and now increasingly IT operators -- has grown from infatuation to deep and abiding love. But as with any long-term affair, the honeymoon soon leads to needing to live well together ... and maybe even getting some relationship help along the way. And so it goes with container orchestration and automation solutions, which are rapidly emerging as the means to maintain the bliss between rapid container adoption and broad container use among multiple cloud host...
The cloud era has reached the stage where it is no longer a question of whether a company should migrate, but when. Enterprises have embraced the outsourcing of where their various applications are stored and who manages them, saving significant investment along the way. Plus, the cloud has become a defining competitive edge. Companies that fail to successfully adapt risk failure. The media, of course, continues to extol the virtues of the cloud, including how easy it is to get there. Migrating...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.