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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Can Ancient Grains and Gluten-Free Beer Help Local Farmers Save the Environment?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    African farmers are using ancient grains like millet and sorghum to drive a new business in gluten-free craft beer and to preserve the environment.

    Can Ancient Grains and Gluten-Free Beer Help Local Farmers Save the Environment? -

    Celiac.com 06/19/2019 - Ancient gluten-free grains are helping African farmers to gain profit and save the environment by producing gluten-free beer that is safe for people with celiac disease.  In Africa, local framers are growing nutritious, ancient gluten-free grains like corn and millet. In the process, they are growing a new economy, saving the environment, and brewing a delicious gluten-free beer that's safe for celiacs. It's a recipe for success.

    Gluten-Free Ancient Grains Are Nutritious

    Gluten-free ancient grains like millet and sorghum are rich in nutrients. They are also high in protein and antioxidants. Pearl millet, for example, has twice the protein of milk and sorghum is rich in vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber. These crops are also drought-resistant, making them suitable for dry, hot climates. However, farmers tend to grow more popular crops like maize, wheat, rice, and soybeans. 

    Gluten-Free Beer Helps Local Farmers



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    Now, African farmers are using ancient grains like millet and sorghum to drive a new business in gluten-free craft beer and to preserve the environment. Since millet and sorghum are both gluten-free, they can be used to anchor brewing recipes for delicious, gluten-free beers. By sourcing grains from locally farmers, the brewers help to support local economies and community members. 

    Drought Resistant Grains Help Save Environment

    And because millet and sorghum need significantly less water than wheat, and require less fertilizer and pesticide, growing them helps farmers to preserve the environment.

    Who knew that growing nutritious, ancient gluten-free grains could help local framers, save the environment, and result in a delicious gluten-free beer that's safe for celiacs? Talk about a winning plan. Stay tuned for more on this story.


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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.


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  • Related Articles

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 05/04/2011 - Agriculture officials in Colorado looking to increase millet sales are turning to beer-brewers for help. At present, millet makes up just a fraction of the cereal grains sold in the U.S. Each year, America produces just $50 million worth of millet, compared to several billion dollars worth of wheat, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    Millet represents an opportunity to increase revenue for rural Colorado businesses, according to Timothy Larsen, senior international marketing specialist for the state agriculture department. He adds that agriculture needs to nurture numerous niche markets in order to expand.
    Colorado produces about 60 percent of all millet produced in the U.S. production, about 200,000 acres of millet. The millet can be rotated with wheat, which grows on about 2 million acres. Commonly used as birdseed, Colorado agriculture officials have been promoting millet's gluten-free qualities, and working with Colorado State University to develop recipes using millet.
    Hoping to create an entirely new business sector officials are asking the Colorado Malting Co. to ship malted samples to Colorado-based brewers so they can experiment with millet-based beers. The company is currently preparing about 6,000 pounds of millet from the Fort Morgan area — 2,000 pounds each of three varieties — for commercial brewers this spring.
    The company recently finished malting golden German millet, which, according to co-owner Jason Cody, yielded some impressive nutty flavors.
    Pedro Gonzalez, co-founder of gluten-free beer company New Planet Beer, said he's eager to see if the brewers his company works with can find a recipe that appeals to customers the way some millet-based imports do. New Planet's existing beers primarily use sorghum, corn and brown rice, along with ingredients such as raspberry puree and molasses to add flavor.
    Because people's taste-buds are geared toward malted barley, and the gluten, and the proteins that make beer thick and full-bodied, working without barley can be a challenge.
    "When you choose not to have barley or wheat in your beer, then you lose those qualities, says Gonzalez."
    Being able to use Colorado-grown millet will help New Planet meet its company mission of being environmentally responsible by using ingredients that don't have to be shipped far, Gonzalez said.
    Among the establishments scheduled to participate in the millet-beer experiment are Eddyline Restaurant and Brewing Co., in Buena Vista, Pagosa Brewing Co. in Pagosa Springs. Eddyline head brewer Scott Kimball won't promise his customers a millet beer until he knows how it tastes. Pagosa Springs head brewer Tony Simmons says malted millet presents "an opportunity where if we have a gluten-free beer that actually tastes good, let's try it," adding that he's done some home-brewing with millet, and that he's "a big fan."
    The project is being made possible in part by a $42,000 USDA grant to help Colorado's millet industry market itself, domestically and overseas.
    Source:

     http://www.greenfieldreporter.com/view/story/c03f9954de0b4eaf8514c5eeb1dba418/CO--Colorado-Millet-Beer/


    Sheila Hughes
    Celiac.com 05/14/2013 - Despite the fact that millet is more nutritious than wheat, as well as other gluten-free grains, modern science lacks the processing technologies to manufacture it on a large scale. Millet is an age-old grain, however we have yet to harness its full potential due to this drawback.
    The preparation of millet includes fermentation, decortication, milling, and sieving. Most of millet being processed today is currently being down on a household level in rural areas, and due to this fact its availability is limited in urban areas. Another challenge with increasing millet production is making sure the nutritional properties are not depleted during the process.
    Current health benefits of millet include high anti-oxidants which could mean a reduced risk of cancer. It is also used more and more in diabetic products because it is high in polyunsaturated fat.
    While there currently isn't a system to produce millet on a large scale, there is research being done in this area. Perhaps in the near future we will see this grain being produced on the scale needed to make it common place in gluten-free products.
    Source:
    http://www.bakeryandsnacks.com/R-D/Millet-promise-stopped-short-by-processing-shortfalls-review


    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 10/14/2016 - It's almost October, and that means beer, or, at least it means Oktoberfest is near. And in so many ways, gluten-free beer lovers have never had it better, with dozens of selections now available commercially, and more on the way every month, it seems.
    So grab a beer, and celebrate Oktoberfest. But before we get to the list of beer purveyors, let's quickly review some basics of gluten-free versus gluten removed.
    Naturally Gluten-free Beers—Naturally gluten-free beers are made with all gluten-free source ingredients, and use grains like sorghum instead of barley. This is important to many people, especially those with high sensitivity, or the belief that gluten-removed beers may trigger celiac-related problems.
    Pros: Guaranteed gluten-free from start to finish. As close to 100% gluten-free final product as it gets. Cons: Beers made without barley can taste tart, or have a shallow flavor profile. Aren't considered beer under German standards. Gluten-removed beers—Use traditional source ingredients like barley to brew beer traditionally, then use various enzyme processes to break down the gluten.
    Pros: Traditional source ingredients. Traditional beer flavor. Test under 20 ppm gluten. Can be labeled as beer according to German purity laws. Cons: While many people with celiac disease seem to be able to tolerate gluten-removed beers, many claim that these beers trigger adverse symptoms. The jury is still out on whether gluten-reduced beers are safe for people with celiac disease. From a purely technical standpoint, beers brewed from all gluten-free source ingredients cannot be called beer in Germany, due to strict labeling laws in effect since the 14th century.
    The standard set by the FDA for gluten-free labeling in the United States requires that products be made with gluten-free ingredients, and must contain less than 20ppm of gluten.
    The standard set in Europe allows manufacturers to use gluten, rye, or barley in the manufacturing process, so long as the final product tests below 20 ppm gluten.
    Many European beers follow that method, and use wheat and or barley to brew their gluten-free beers. The beers are then treated with enzymes to break down and filter out any gluten. The result is a beer that looks and tastes like a traditional beer, but which is also gluten-free, according to the European labeling standard.
    A List of Naturally Gluten-free Beers
    Anheuser-Busch Redbridge Bard's Gold Bard's Tale Beer Brasserie Dupont Forêt Libre Brasseurs Sans Gluten Glutenberg Blanche Brunehaut Bio Ambrée Brunehaut Blonde Bio Brunehaut Blanche Burning Brothers Brewing Coors Peak Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales: Tweason'ale Drummond Gluten Free Epic Brewing Company: Glutenator Ghostfish Brewery Glutenberg American Pale Ale Glutenberg Blonde Glutenberg Belgian Double Glutenberg India Pale Ale Glutenberg Rousse Green's Discovery Amber Ale Green's Endeavour Green's Enterprise Dry-Hopped Lager Green's India Pale Ale Green's Quest Tripel Blonde Ale Ground Breaker Corsa Rose Gold Ale Ground Breaker IPA No. 5 Ground Breaker Dark Ale Ipswich Ale Brewery: Celia Saison Joseph James Brewing Fox Tail Lakefront New Grist Ginger Style Ale Lakefront New Grist Pilsner Style Minhas Lazy Mutt Gluten Free Mongozo Premium Pilsener New Planet Belgian Style Ale New Planet Blonde Ale New Planet Pale Ale New Planet Raspberry Ale New Planet Seclusion IPA New Planet Tread Lightly Session Ale Nickel Brook Gluten Free Nouvelle France La Messagère Nouvelle-France Messagère Aux Fruits Nouvelle-France Messagère Red Ale Schnitzer Bräu Hirse Lemon Schnitzer Bräu Hirse Premium Sprecher Brewing Company's Shakparo Ale Steadfast Beer gluten-free Blonde and Pale Ales Steadfast Beer Company's Oatmeal Cream Stout To Øl Reparationsbajer Gluten Free Whistler Forager A List of Gluten-Removed Beers
    Alley Kat Scona Gold Kölsch Brunehaut Bio Tripel Estrella Damm Daura Estrella Damm Daura Marzen Lammsbräu Glutenfrei Lager Beer Mikkeller American Dream Gluten Free Mikkeller Green Gold Gluten Free Mikkeller I Wish Gluten Free IPA Mikkeller Peter, Pale And Mary Gluten Free New Belgium Glutiny brand Golden and Pale Ales Short's Brewing Space Rock Stone Delicious IPA Sufferfest Brewing Company Pale Ale and Lager Widmer Omission Lager Widmer Omission IPA Widmer Omission Pale Ale Wold Top Against The Grain Wold Top Marmalade Porter Wold Top Scarborough Fair IPA Resources:
    Germans Brewing Beer with New Gluten-free Barley Storied Czech Brewery Quietly Brews Great Gluten-free Dark Beer Ghostfish Brewing Wins Gluten-free Gold at Great American Beer Festival Gluten-free Beer Guide at The Beer Diaries 17 Gluten-Free Beers That Actually Taste Good [updated for 2016!]


    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 11/14/2017 - One reason conventional beers remain unsafe for people with celiac disease is that they contain gluten fragments that push the finished product over the 20ppm standard for gluten-free products. Such gluten fragments in conventional beers render them unsuitable for people with celiac disease.
    There's been some confusion about the best ways to measure gluten levels in fermented foods and beverages. That confusion has prompted more confusion over the methods used to remove gluten from beers brewed with traditional barley. Are such beers gluten-free and safe for people with celiac disease?
    Many barley-based beers crafted to remove gluten use proprietary precipitation and/or enzymes, such as prolyl endopeptidases (PEP), that break down the gluten molecules. When these beers are tested for gluten using using competitive ELISA, the industry standard, they often test under 20 mg/kg, which is deemed safe for people with celiac disease. But are those tests accurate? Do the products the 20 ppm standard for gluten-free?
    A team of researchers recently set out to assess such results using liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis. The research team included Michelle L. Colgrave, Keren Byrne, and Crispin A. Howitt. They are affiliated with CSIRO Agriculture and Food in Australia.
    The team's analyses showed gluten peptides derived from hydrolyzed fragments, many >30 kDa in size. This may render gluten levels above 20 ppm in the final product. As expected, the team found various types of barley gluten in all conventional beers they analyzed. However, they also found gluten fragments in some gluten-removed beers.
    This indicates that gluten breakdown was incomplete in some commercial gluten-removed beers. Furthermore, the research team was able to spot the peptides that made up the unbroken gluten fragments. They suggest that these results may warrant further optimization of PEP gluten reduction methods in commercial settings. Since most manufacturers place a heavy premium on product quality, I would look for brewers to use this kind of information to improve their gluten-reduction processes going forward.
    We clearly need to learn more about the scope of the potential issue. These analyses were made using liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Because they make precise measurements of small amounts of things, they are not practical for analyzing commercial products. 
    So, we definitely need a better way to measure gluten levels in fermented products, since current methods can provide inaccurate results.
    What does this all mean for people with celiac disease?
    Obviously traditional beers beers with gluten levels over 20 ppm are best avoided. Gluten-free beers are likely fine. For celiacs who tolerate gluten-removed beers, there's little reason to change. If you have a favorite brand that works for you, that's likely okay.
    However, based on these findings, there is reason to be vigilant when trying a new gluten-removed beer.
    We advise people to follow their gut when consuming any product labeled gluten-free or gluten-reduced. As always, choose your products carefully. Even trusted products can change, or have something wrong with them from time to time. It's good practice to avoid any product seems to upset your stomach or trigger symptoms.
    Also, if you think a food labeled gluten-free is contaminated, by all means, report it to the FDA, and consider reporting it to the manufacturer.
    Lastly, it seems that manufacturers may want to take a closer look at their brewing process and their final product to be sure that gluten levels are under 20ppm.
    In the meantime, stay tuned for more developments on this and related stories.
    Source:
    J. Agric. Food Chem., Article ASAP. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.7b03742


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