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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Kansas State University Researchers Use Sorghum to Craft New Gluten-free Foods

    Celiac.com 10/03/2012 - In an effort to expand the market for Kansas-grown sorghum, a professor at Kansas State University and a group of food science graduate students are conducting research into the use of sorghum in new gluten-free food products for people with celiac disease.

    Photo: CC--agrilifetodayKansas is one of the top sorghum producers in the U.S. In 2006, as the manufacturing of gluten-free products started to take off, sorghum farmers began looking for alternative uses for their crop.

    Fadi Aramouni, K-State professor of food science, said that quest triggered the university's research into sorghum as a gluten alternative. In America, sorghum has traditionally been used for animal feed, but the growing market for gluten-free foods, along with the availability of food-grade sorghum, is fueling the use of sorghum in these types of food products, he said.

    Aramouni said the research initially focused on developing a sorghum-based tortilla. He and the students looked at the six varieties of sorghum grown in Kansas and determined which one they thought would work best. They considered factors such as grain hardness, protein, carbohydrate and fiber content, shelf life, dough quality, and flavor.

    Right away, the research team ran into problems with milling, "because it turns out that the particle size during the milling will affect the properties of the sorghum flour," Armuni said. One problem is that sorghum tends to form a batter rather than a dough, so it is necessary to add eggs and other stabilizers, such as gums, to craft a suitable dough.

    Using the facilities at Kansas State's grain and science industry department, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory in Manhattan, the research team has been able to create tortillas, breads, Belgian waffles and waffle cones from sorghum.

    Their research is largely funded by the Kansas Department of Agriculture, and includes comparing the glycemic index of their sorghum products to those made of wheat, corn and rice. The glycemic index measures how a given carbohydrate raises blood glucose.

    In the last few years, the team's sorghum-based creations have won first prize in the American Association of Cereal Chemists competition.

    using their new knowledge of sorghum, the researchers are now working to create gluten-free soft pretzels, sweet rolls and dinner rolls, vanilla-flavored Waffle Cones and Crunchums, a raspberry-jalapeno-flavored sorghum snack.

    "This is not cooking. This is science," Aramouni said.

    It is important science, he adds, because people who must eat gluten-free food need better, more nutritious products. What new gluten-free products would you like to see on the market? Share your comments below.

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    I was a late diagnosed celiac, fighting the re-occurrence of a persistent colon cancer caught in its early stages - which WENT AWAY COMPLETELY after going gluten free. However, I still react to ALL monocotyledon grass family seeds like millet and sorghum with stomach pain and asthma. I do not react to dicotyledon plant (buckwheat, amaranth) products, and I read I am not alone. For some reason the grass family causes auto-immune reactions that dicotyledons do not.

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    I would like to eat products with 0 ppm gluten in it, because I get sick of most gluten-free products with higher amounts of gluten (below 20 ppm). I am very sensitive to small traces of wheat, barley etc.

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    I would like to see sorghum flour more widely available along with other gluten-free flours in bulk food stores here in NY. The only way I know to get it (aside from buying online but shipping makes that prohibitive) is from Bob's Red Mill. Sorghum flour is something I always look for but I'm constantly disappointed not to find it.

     

    Perhaps it's available in Kansas. I recall seeing fields of sorghum growing in Kansas and my uncle pointing out that it was a major part of the diet for the cattle in his feedlot. Maybe that is why it is of particular interest to me. I think it tastes good and I like to add it to my flour mixes, particularly for pancakes.

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    "It is important science, he adds, because people who must eat gluten-free food need better, more nutritious products." Yet only two of the products were what I would consider "healthy". I would eat the tortillas and the bread, maybe, but certainly not the waffles, ice cream cones, granola mix, sweet rolls, pretzels, dinner rolls... This is just a "science" to try to make the growing of a product more profitable. Which is fine. I just don't see the CONCERN FOR celiac/gluten sensitive PEOPLE. How about a whole grain sorghum pasta, or a sorghum food that doesn't contain sugar as the second ingredient, or a soup thickened with sorghum instead of wheat, or a whole grain sorghum crispy cracker!

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as 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.

  • Related Articles

    Scott Adams
    The following was written by Donald D. Kasarda who is a research chemist in the Crop Improvement and Utilization Research Unit of the United States Department of Agriculture. If you have any questions or comments regarding the piece, you can address them to Don at: kasarda@pw.usda.gov.
    The connection with wheat (and rye and barley) wasnt recognized until the 1950s - (a)nd it wasnt until the 1960s that intestinal biopsies began to become commonly used in the diagnosis of celiac disease. With regard to the harmfulness of barley malt, the situation is complicated. I will give you my best shot with the qualification that the ideal experiments have not been done and a definitive statement is not possible at this time.
    Because barley malt is made from barley grain that has been germinated it is reasonably certain to be less toxic than barley itself. The hordein proteins and starch in the endosperm of barley grains, like the equivalent gluten proteins and starch in wheat, are there for storage purposes. In a sense, they provide food for the new plant upon germination. In order to use the hordein proteins, the grain releases and generates enzymes upon germination that break down the storage proteins into their constituent amino acids. The problem is that the process is not complete during a short germination, so some peptides (short pieces of the proteins) remain intact in malted barley. There is experimental evidence for this. The resulting mix of peptides is highly complex.
    We know from work described in the scientific literature that relatively small polypeptide chains can still retain activity in celiac disease and we know something about a few sequences that seem to be harmful. But we probably dont know all the sequences that are harmful and we havent put our fingers on the common theme that gives rise to the activity in celiac disease. So the question arises as to whether or not the remaining sequences in malted barley are harmful.
    The possibilities that come to my mind are:
    There are sufficient remaining harmful peptides (with sizes including approximately 12 or more amino acid residues) to give a significant activity in celiac disease to barley malt (remember though that barley malt is usually a minor component of most foods in which it is used and processing might decrease the amount of harmful peptides in a malt product); There are traces of these peptides, but they are sufficiently minimal so as to cause no discernible harm; or The key harmful amino acid sequences are completely destroyed by the enzymes during germination (I can speculate that there might be an important enzyme, very active, in germination that clips a key bond in active sequences, thus reducing the concentration of those active sequences to almost nil while still allowing non-harmful peptides to exist; no evidence exists for this speculation, but it could be used as a working hypothesis for experimentation). There is no completely solid evidence for or against there being a threshold of gluten consumption below which no harm, or at least no lasting harm, occurs and above which definite harm occurs (but see my previous post to the list on starch/malt question). This is a difficult area to study where zero consumption is being approached and the arguments that come up are at least similar to those that have arisen in regard to the question of whether or not there is a minimal level of radiation exposure below which no harm is caused, but above which there is harm that increases with dosage. Accordingly, celiac patients must choose arbitrarily the path they feel comfortable with.
    Here are some references that deal with the question of peptide toxicity. It is not a simple situation:
    Shewry, P. R., Tatham, A. S., Kasarda, D. D. Cereal proteins and coeliac disease. In Coeliac Disease, Ed. M. N. Marsh. Blackwell Scientific, London 1992;pp. 305-348. Kasarda, D. D. Toxic cereal grains in coeliac disease. In: Gastrointestinal Immunology and Gluten Sensitive Disease: Proc. 6th International Symp. On Coeliac Disease, C. Feighery and C. OFarrelly, eds., Oak Tree Press, Dublin 1994;pp. 203-220. Wieser, H., Belitz, H.-D., Idar, D., Ashkenazi, A. Coeliac activity of the gliadin peptides CT-1 and CT-2. Zeitschrift fur Lebensmittel-Untersuchung und-Forschung 1986;182:115-117. De Ritis, G., Auricchio, S., Jones, H. W., Lew, E. J.-L., Bernardin, J. E., Kasarda, D. D. In vitro (organ culture) studies of the toxicity of specific A-gliadin peptides in celiac disease Gastroenterology 1988;94:41-49. Fluge, 0, K. Sletten, G. Fluge, Aksnes, L., S. Elsayed. In vitro toxicity of purified gluten peptides tested by organ culture. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition 1994;18:186-192. Sturgess, R., Day, P., Ellis, H. J., Lundin, K. A., Gjertsen, H. A, Kontakou, M., Ciclitira, P. J. Wheat peptide challenge in coeliac disease. Lancet 1994;343:758-761. Marsh, M. N., Morgan, S., Ensari, A., Wardle, T., Lobley, R., Mills, C., Auricchio, S. In vivo activity of peptides 31-43, 44-55, 56-68 of a-gliadin in gluten sensitive enteropathy (GSE). Supplement to Gastroenterology 1995;108:A871.

    Tina Turbin
    Celiac.com 08/31/2010 - In my work as an author, researcher, and gluten-free advocate, I know how challenging the gluten-free diet can be. One of the most vital and tricky parts of the diet is learning what foods have gluten and which are "naturally" gluten-free as well as learning how to read labels. Unfortunately, these aren't always enough. Just because a grain is supposed to be "naturally" gluten-free, doesn't mean that it is. In fact, a recent study tested 22 so-called "inherently" gluten-free grains and found that over thirty percent of them had gluten.
    Gluten is a protein found in the grains wheat, barley, and rye, and is inherently lacking in grains such as oats, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, soy, sorghum, flaxseed, rice, and amaranth seed. A study tested 22 of these "naturally" gluten-free grains, and 7 of them had a gluten amount higher than 20 ppm, which would disqualify them from being labeled as gluten-free under the proposed FDA guidelines.
    One type of soy flour tested had nearly 3,000 ppm of gluten, two millet flour products had an average of between 305-327 ppm, and the sorghum flour had a mean average of 234 ppm. Four of those seven products didn't have allergen advisory statements.
    What's the reason behind these alarming research results? Dr. Mercola, an osteopathic physician and board-certified family medicine doctor, attributes the cause to cross-contamination during the processing of these grains and also to a lack of testing of final products for gluten.
    Dr. Mercola, who is trained in both traditional and natural, or holistic, medicine, raises the question, however, about whether not only celiacs but people in general should even be consuming grains in the first place.
    According to Dr. Mercola, "Most people need to avoid grains." On his website, he states that several autoimmune disorders, not just celiac disease, can be "significantly improved by avoiding grains," and eliminating grains from your diet can also decrease your risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, Type 2 Diabetes, and cancer.
    This is due to the fact that, as Dr. Mercola explains, "grains and sugars are inherently pro-inflammatory and will worsen any condition that has chronic inflammation at its root – and not just inflammation in your gut, but anywhere in your body." In his experience, about 75-80% of all people benefitted from going grain-free.
    According to Grain Free Living, the health benefits of going grain-free have been proven "through the personal experience of hundreds of people worldwide who have experienced significant relief from symptoms of Crohn's disease (and many other illnesses of the digestive system) and also for chronic fatigue." The mainstream medical community has been critical of the "anecdotal evidence" from the testimonies of those who have reported an improvement in health. Clinical studies on the matter have yet to be carried out.
    A grain-free diet doesn't have to be boring. In fact, grain-free cookbooks have come out with grain-free recipes for favorite American foods such as pancakes, muffins, lasagna, cakes, and cookies. For those who have a digestive or other condition or who wish to eliminate health risks, I would recommend talking to your healthcare practitioner about a grain-free diet.
    For the gluten-free community who wishes to continue to eat grains, this study of the gluten content of "naturally" gluten-free grains can be startling. Look for grain products that are certified gluten-free by such organizations as the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) or make sure to do thorough company research before you try "inherently" gluten-free grains.
    References:

    Thompson T, Lee A, Grace T. Gluten contamination of grains, seeds, and flours in the United States: A pilot study. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010;110:937-940.  Abstract available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20497786 Thompson, T. Contamination of Naturally Gluten-Free Grains. Living Gluten-Free. June 1, 2010. Available at: http://www.diet.com/dietblogs/read_blog.php?title=&blid=19524
     

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 02/26/2014 - Quinoa is a highly nutritious plant from the South America that is often recommended by doctors as part of a gluten-free diet. However, some laboratory data suggests that quinoa prolamins can trigger innate and adaptive immune responses in celiac patients, and thus might not be safe for celiacs to eat.
    To better examine this issue, a team of researchers set out to evaluate the real-life effects of quinoa consumption in adult patients with celiac disease. The research team included Alberto Caminero, Alexandra R. Herrán, Esther Nistal, Jenifer Pérez-Andrés, Luis Vaquero, Santiago Vivas, José María G. Ruiz de Morales, Silvia M. Albillos, and Javier Casqueiro.
    They are variously affiliated with the Instituto de Biología Molecular, Genómica y Proteómica (INBIOMIC), and the Instituto de Biomedicina (IBIOMED) Campus de Vegazana at the Universidad de León, the Área de Microbiología, Facultad de Biología y Ciencias Ambientales at the Universidad de León, the Departamento de Inmunología y Gastroenterología of the Hospital de León, and the Instituto de Biotecnología (INBIOTEC) de León, all in León, Spain.
    The researchers looked at 19 treated celiac patients who ate 50 g of quinoa every day for 6 weeks as part of their regular gluten-free diet. The team evaluated diet, serology, and gastrointestinal parameters, and made histological assessments of 10 patients, bot before and after they consumed quinoa.
    The team found normal gastrointestinal parameters. They also noticed that the ratio of villus height to crypt depth improved from slightly below normal values (2.8:1) to normal levels (3:1), surface-enterocyte cell height improved from 28.76 to 29.77 μm and the number of intra-epithelial lymphocytes per 100 enterocytes decreased from 30.3 to 29.7.
    Results for all the blood tests remained within normal ranges, although total cholesterol (n=19) decreased from 4.6 to 4.3 mmol/l, low-density lipoprotein decreased from 2.46 to 2.45 mmol/l, high-density lipoprotein decreased from 1.8 to 1.68 mmol/l and triglycerides decreased from 0.80 to 0.79 mmol/l.
    The results show that quinoa is well tolerated by celiac patients and does not worsen the condition. In fact, patients saw a general improvement histological and serological results, along with a mild reduction in blood pressure.
    Overall, this is the first clinical data to indicate that celiac patients can safely tolerate up to 50 g of quinoa daily for 6 weeks. However, the team points out the need for further studies to determine the long-term effects of quinoa consumption.
    Source:
    Am J Gastroenterol. 2014 Feb;109(2):270-8. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2013.431. Epub 2014 Jan 21.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 10/21/2014 - Insects offer one of the most concentrated and efficient forms of protein on the planet, and they are a common food in many parts of the world.
    So, could high-protein flour made out of crickets change the future of gluten-free foods? A San Francisco Bay Area company is looking to make that possibility a reality.
    The company, Bitty Foods, is making flour from slow-roasted crickets that are then milled and combined with tapioca and cassava to make a high-protein flour that is gluten-free. According to the Bitty Foods website, a single cup of cricket flour contains a whopping 28 grams of protein.
    So can Bitty Foods persuade gluten-free consumers to try their high protein gluten-free flour? Only time will tell. In the mean time, stay tuned for more cricket flour developments.
    What do you think? Would you give it a try? If it worked well for baking, would you use it?

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    Wanted to give a dosing idea with b-vitamins, magnesium, and vitamin D. I take 1tbsp each of Liquid Health Energy & Stress and Neurological Support with 1 drop 2000iu vitamin D twice daily in a warm beverage before meals. Magnesium can vary and what is best depends on your bowel habits. If you do not have Diarrhea, and you do not use the restroom at least once a day then you need magnesium Citrate (Natural Vitality Calm) dosed to tolerance. Starting with 2g (1/4tsp), up the dose another
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