SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Trevor Parsons, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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
In high-production environments where release cycles are measured in hours or minutes — not days or weeks — there's little room for mistakes and no room for confusion. Everyone has to understand what's happening, in real time, and have the means to do whatever is necessary to keep applications up and running optimally. DevOps is a high-stakes world, but done well, it delivers the agility and performance to significantly impact business competitiveness.
"Our premise is Docker is not enough. That's not a bad thing - we actually love Docker. At ActiveState all our products are based on open source technology and Docker is an up-and-coming piece of open source technology," explained Bart Copeland, President & CEO of ActiveState Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
ScriptRock makes GuardRail, a DevOps-ready platform for configuration monitoring. Realizing we were spending way too much time digging up, cataloguing, and tracking machine configurations, we began writing our own scripts and tools to handle what is normally an enormous chore. Then we took the concept a step further, giving it a beautiful interface and making it simple enough for our bosses to understand. We named it GuardRail after its function - to allow businesses to move fast and stay sa...
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover ...
SYS-CON Media announced today that Sematext launched a popular blog feed on DevOps Journal with over 6,000 story reads over the weekend. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. DevOps Journal brings valuable information to DevOps professionals who are transforming the way enterprise IT is done. Sematext is a globally distributed organization that builds innovative Cloud and On Premises solutions for performance monitoring, alerting an...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com...
Leysin American School is an exclusive, private boarding school located in Leysin, Switzerland. Leysin selected an OpenStack-powered, private cloud as a service to manage multiple applications and provide development environments for students across the institution. Seeking to meet rigid data sovereignty and data integrity requirements while offering flexible, on-demand cloud resources to users, Leysin identified OpenStack as the clear choice to round out the school's cloud strategy. Additional...
Verizon Enterprise Solutions is simplifying the cloud-purchasing experience for its clients, with the launch of Verizon Cloud Marketplace, a key foundational component of the company's robust ecosystem of enterprise-class technologies. The online storefront will initially feature pre-built cloud-based services from AppDynamics, Hitachi Data Systems, Juniper Networks, PfSense and Tervela. Available globally to enterprises using Verizon Cloud, Verizon Cloud Marketplace provides a one-stop shop fo...
The move in recent years to cloud computing services and architectures has added significant pace to the application development and deployment environment. When enterprise IT can spin up large computing instances in just minutes, developers can also design and deploy in small time frames that were unimaginable a few years ago. The consequent move toward lean, agile, and fast development leads to the need for the development and operations sides to work very closely together. Thus, DevOps become...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada...
SYS-CON Media announced today that Aruna Ravichandran, VP of Marketing, Application Performance Management and DevOps at CA Technologies, has joined DevOps Journal’s authors. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. DevOps Journal brings valuable information to DevOps professionals who are transforming the way enterprise IT is done. Aruna's inaugural article "Four Essential Cultural Hacks for DevOps Newbies" discusses how to demonstrate the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, p...
SYS-CON Events announced today that AIC, a leading provider of OEM/ODM server and storage solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. AIC is a leading provider of both standard OTS, off-the-shelf, and OEM/ODM server and storage solutions. With expert in-house design capabilities, validation, manufacturing and production, AIC's broad selection of products are highly flexible and are conf...

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's