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Am J Clin Nutr 2002;75:914-921. Celiac.com 06/06/2002 - Results of a recent study conducted by Anneli Ivarsson and colleagues at Umea University in Sweden suggest that continuing to breast-feed infants while they are being introduced to new foods may reduce their risk of getting celiac disease. Dr. Ivarssons study suggests that the cause of celiac disease may include environmental factors, and not just be limited to genetic factors. Their study evaluated the breast-feeding habits of 627 children with celiac disease and 1,254 healthy children, and specifically looked at their responses to newly introduced foods. The results, published in the May issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, indicate that dietary patterns of infants may have a strong influence on the bodys immune responses, and certain dietary patterns could lead to lifelong food intolerances. Children under 2 years of age who were still being breast-fed when they were introduced to dietary gluten had a 40% lower incidence of celiac disease. Another important factor was the overall amount of gluten in an infants diet, and a direct correlation was found between increased gluten consumption and an increased incidence of celiac disease. According to the researchers, the protective effect of breast feeding was even more pronounced in infants who were breast-fed beyond the introduction of gluten. Ultimately the teams findings indicate that breast feeding infants through the period of gluten introduction can significantly lower their risk of getting celiac disease. More research needs to be done to determine if this protective effect will extend over a lifetime.
Celiac.com 04/22/2008 - There’s some good news on the product development front for folks on a gluten-free diet. Lest you think that companies are resting on their laurels, think again. With gluten-free products moving out of the niche segment of the market and more into the mainstream, there is tremendous interest among manufacturers in improving existing products and creating new products. Part of this interest lies in improving the functional properties of ingredients, especially the various flours that form the base of so many breads and bread-like products. One problem that has stood in the way of rapid gluten-free product improvement has been a lack of knowledge about the functional properties of flours made from rice and other grains. When it comes to making tasty products, so much more is known about the functional properties of wheat than about other grains, but that is rapidly changing. A team from the US Agricultural Research Service and the Dale Bumper National Rice Research Centre recently set out to evaluate the ways in which different milling techniques might improve the functional properties of rice-based foods. Their findings indicate that pin-milled rice flour seems to produce products with a superior texture that the standard commercial-milling method. The research team used the same second-head long-grained rice in all of their tests, and compared baking results for commercial-, pin-, and Udy-milled rice. The Udy-milled flour was chemically simlar to the pin-milled flour, with similar amylose and protein levels, yet still produced inferior breads. The commercial flour was milled using a proprietary combination of a hammermill pass and a turbo mill follow-up. Breads made with commercially milled rice flour showed unfavorable texture and produced flatter, less fluffy loaves, often with large holes in the slices, while bread made with pin-milled rice flour produced fuller, fluffier loaves with better texture, and less holes. Pin-milling rice flour seems to result in more uniformly sized particles with less fine particles, making it superior for creating the novel rice-flour-based food products that are making up an increasing portion of the rapidly expanding market for gluten-free foods. Using pin-milled rice flour in place of conventionally milled rice flour, will likely result in better tasting tortillas, breads and rice-flour based products. The market for gluten-free foods has grown at more than 25% annually, from $210 million in 2001 to nearly $700 million in 2006. The figures for 2007 are not in yet, but analysts predict that the market will continue to sustain growth rates of 25% through 2010. This means that by the end of the decade, the gluten-free food industry will generate revenues in excess of $1 billion annually. This strong growth has been due largely to a greater awareness and improved testing methods for celiac disease. However, the creation of new and successful gluten-free products has been relatively slow, due largely to technical challenges and a lack on investment in research and development. Creating better gluten-free specialty foods using pin-miled rice flour might give producers who rely on rice ingredients a way to recover the costs of rice, which has risen nearly 70% since the beginning of the year. With technical breakthroughs, such as improved milling techniques, and greater investment in research and development, the market might see even greater gains that it has seen to this point. As more and more mainstream manufacturers look to tap into the ever-growing market for gluten-free foods, and as technical revelations increase, people with celiac disease and others on gluten-free diets are likely to see more appealing, better tasting gluten-free products become more widely available than before. Source: Effects of Milling on Functional Properties of Rice Flour R.S. Kadan, R.J. Bryant, and J.A. Miller Published article online: 11-Apr-2008 doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2008.00720.x
Clin Immunol. 2004 Apr;111(1):108-18 According to German researchers, delaying the introduction of wheat and barley proteins could reduce the incidence of diabetes. The scientists looked at mice on diets that were modified according to protein source, and specifically looked at mice pups from female non-obese diabetic mice. Mice on lifelong wheat-free and barley-free diets (their protein source was poultry) had significantly reduced levels of diabetes (45% by age 32 weeks vs. 88% in control mice), and when they did develop diabetes, its onset was delayed. Interestingly the development of diabetes in these mice was not fully restored after adding wheat and barley proteins to their diets (58%). Further, insulin autoantibodies and insulitis scores were both reduced in the wheat and barley-free mice, and their intra-pancreatic IL-4 mRNA levels were increased. The researchers conclude: "These data support a link between dietary wheat and barley proteins and the development of autoimmune diabetes."