What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein that naturally occurs in a number of grains such as wheat, triticale, barley, rye and oats. As an ingredient, the two sub-proteins —glutenin and gliadin—form strands which strengthen dough and create pockets which trap the air released from leavening agents, such as yeast. North American wheat has a higher gluten content than European wheat giving North American baked goods a distinct texture.
Does gluten have a taste?
On its own, gluten has as a chalky flavor, similar to corn starch and a stringy mouthfeel, like a very weak bubble gum.
How do you identify that a food product has gluten in it?
If a product isn’t labeled, what are some other ways to determine if it has gluten in it?
Gluten does not have a particular look, color or appearance. It’s up to consumers to be aware of the sources of gluten and the types of foods in which they are typically found. For example, gravy is typically thickened with wheat flour. Rather than hoping the gravy was prepared with corn starch, and in the absence of being able to confirm the gravy ingredients with the cook or chef, one should avoid the gravy.
Which people benefit most from a gluten-free diet?
People with celiac disease, a clinically-diagnosed condition, have a cell-mediated allergy to gluten that results in an inflammation of the lower gastro-intestinal tract. People with celiac disease must completely avoid consumption of gluten. People with a gluten-sensitivity have not been clinically-diagnosed as having celiac disease; however, they exhibit similar symptoms after ingestion of gluten, such as diarrhea, chronic fatigue and headaches, which are alleviated upon exclusion of gluten from the diet.
Why is gluten-free becoming so popular?
The past decade has witnessed an increased prevalence of both clinically-diagnosed celiac disease and documented gluten-sensitivity due to expanded awareness in the medical profession of the symptoms, advances in diagnostic techniques, and an understanding throughout the healthcare sector of the remedial value of a gluten-free diet in the treatment of these cases.
In addition, there is a group of consumers who have neither celiac disease nor are gluten-sensitive, yet who attest to health benefits associated with adherence to a gluten-free diet. However, such physiological effects have not been scientifically validated.
What are some gluten-free alternatives to bread, pizza, etc?
Consumers wishing to eat carbohydrates yet avoid gluten, can choose from a variety of substitutes formulated and labeled as gluten-free. These foods are typically developed using one or more gluten-free grains such as corn, quinoa, rice, tapioca, teff, and in some cases, oats, and are available as breads, cakes, muffins, crackers, pasta and even pizza crust.
In the absence of direct substitutes, consumers wishing to avoid gluten can adjust their food selections and replace with gluten-containing grains. Examples are foods such as rice cakes, rice-based sides, 100% corn-based tortillas and taco shells, potatoes of all varieties and formats, quinoa and quinoa-based foods.
Do starchy vegetables like potatoes have gluten?
What is being done to make gluten-free products taste better?
The taste of a food involves many senses in addition to taste, like smell (aroma), mouthfeel (texture) and sight (people eat with their eyes). Due to advances in food technology, sensory evaluation and packaging, the quality of gluten-free baked goods has improved considerably over the past five years. Examples include optimizing the beneficial properties of gluten-free grains such as quinoa, teff and rice; the de-glutenization of wheat; and use of ingredients that mimic the texture of gluten, such as xanthan gum. Other creative approaches involve the use of strong yet pleasant flavors such as lemon, chocolate, wild blueberry and apple-cinnamon crunch, to name a few.
Carol T. Culhane, PHEc, MBA, President- International Food Focus Ltd., IFT member
CRISPR is a defining feature of the bacterial genetic code and its immune system, functioning as a defense system that bacteria use to protect themselves against attacks from viruses. The acronym “CRISPR” stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats.
Biotechnology, and the newer methods of genetic modification—genetic engineering and recombinant (r) deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) techniques and technologies can be very useful in pursuing important improvements in food production and the food supply and doing so much more readily and effectively than previously possible.
The popularity of Bitcoin and other blockchain technologies reached new heights in 2017. Bitcoin is the most prominent in a new type of currency, called cryptocurrency, where transactions are made without an established intermediary (i.e. banks).
With customer demand for transparent and responsibly produced products gaining momentum, food and beverage companies are asking how they can operate in more sustainable ways. They’re taking a closer look at their environmental impact—and turning to their suppliers for solutions.
Leading food science researchers discuss advances in lactic acid bacteria, probiotics, fermentation, and CRISPR genome editing that have transformed the fermented foods industry.
Based on recent research, breakfast’s no. 1 sidekick—a cup of coffee—may well be the most important drink of the day.
As part of the RIPE (Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency) project, a group of international scientists has determined that it’s possible to quickly and efficiently measure the impact of genetically engineered improvements using a process called spectral analysis.
A small study from researchers at Pennsylvania State University and two other universities suggests that the antioxidants in cheese may offset the damage caused to blood vessels by sodium consumption.
International researchers led by the Institute of Medical Microbiology at the Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU) in Germany have discovered a highly virulent strain of Listeria monocytogenes that may present a new food safety threat.
Researchers from the UK and France have found that a diet low in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAP) improved some gut symptoms and improved health-related quality of life for sufferers of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).