Vege Chips, an Australian healthy snack company, has extended its traditional range through the addition of a hot new flavour to its stable of gluten-free and vegan products. Read more
Confectionary company Fruit-tella has launched Australia’s first vegan-friendly and gluten-free fruit flavoured jellies at Woolworths. Read more
Tip Top Foodservice has expanded its Tip Top Burger Bun Range to include a Gluten Free Bun that looks and tastes like a ‘real’ bread bun.
With over 27 per cent of Australian bakery consumers open to consuming gluten free products, the bun is catering for a gap in the market for a soft, moist gluten free bun.
“These days, if you’ve got a burger menu without a gluten free option, you’re missing out on valuable revenue,” said Darren O’Brien, national account manager at Tip Top Foodservice. “But it’s not always easy to find a good gluten free alternative. Many of the buns we found in the market fell apart in your hands as you ate them. Some also needed to be toasted before eating. After a long research process, we have created a gluten free bun that can be eaten toasted or untoasted and doesn’t fall apart. Our bun is also brown on the outside and white on the inside, the way a burger bun should be,” he explained.
The new bun tastes just like ‘real’ bread with no strange aftertaste, something that is often associated with gluten free products. It’s also free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives so health conscious diners can be confident they’re making the right choice. Plus, it’s pre-sliced saving you time in the kitchen. They are delivered frozen, in cartons of 24.
They also have an 8-month frozen shelf life, come in convenient inner packs of 4 and defrost quickly so you can thaw as needed, without wasting any stock.
Cannoleria by That’s Amore has launched its gluten-free cannoli shells, which have been made using Cannoleria’s own recipe that matches the lightness and crunchiness of the brand’s original cannoli shell.
“We wanted to create a gluten-free shell that couldn’t be told apart from a regular shell,” said Cannoleria co-owner Dario Di Clerico. “One that didn’t compromise all the elements of a traditional shell as we found that most gluten free shells in the market lacked appeal and flavour.”
The gluten-free shells are filled using That’s Amore Cheese Ricotta. Customers can currently choose between Sicilian ricotta or chocolate in their GF cannoli.
In addition to freshly filled cannoli, DIY Gluten Free Cannoli Kits are available with 6 large shells, a choice of either filling in a piping bag, crushed pistachios and icing sugar.
A new study has the secret ingredient to improve the safety of common breakfast foods.
Professor Michelle Colgrave, a researcher based at Edith Cowan University and CSIRO, is using revolutionary protein technology to detect “hidden” gluten and other proteins causing food allergies.
Most recently she has focused her investigations on food commonly found on the Australian breakfast menu including cereal, breakfast bars and drinks, powdered drinks and a popular savoury spread.
“We were pleased to find that products that were specifically labelled as gluten-free were on the whole safe to consume,” she said.
“However it is often another story for many foods that should be gluten-free, such as oats or soy flour.”
Colgrave said her team was looking to improve the safety of all Australian food and deliver tools to industry and regulators that can ensure compliance to Australian and international standards.
“Coeliac disease affects up to two per cent of the Australian population and despite this group carefully avoiding gluten in their diet, many of them report associated symptoms at least once a month,” Colgrave said.
“We are interested in discovering whether they are unwittingly consuming gluten through hidden traces in their diets.”
Colgrave said contamination can occur at many stages during manufacture from harvest to processing.
“Commonly used tests might be sensitive enough to detect small amounts of a contaminating substance in a raw ingredient, but might be challenged to detect the same contaminant in a processed food. Yet the human body was still able to detect it and react to it,” she said.
“The technique we use has been successfully deployed to test heavily processed products and it will provide a way to ensure that foods actually contain what it says on the label.”
Scientists from Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, can now detect gluten in any food and show which grain it comes from, making it easier for food companies to correctly label their products.
This National Science Week, they announce they have discovered a way to detect gluten in the less well-studied grain, rye, completing the ‘Grand Slam’ of gluten-containing grains. CSIRO was the first to be able to detect specific glutens in the other three gluten grains – wheat in 2015, barley in 2016, and oats in 2018.
Current commercial tests can only tell that gluten is present in a food but not the grain it’s from. The various detection kits currently available also give variable results of how much gluten is present.
Protein analytics expert with CSIRO, Prof Michelle Colgrave, explains how completing the picture with rye can help consumers and food manufacturers.
“Being able to detect any protein in diverse foods and beverages will help food companies ensure that what’s in the pack is what’s on the pack, and help consumers trust pack labelling around gluten-free claims,” Prof Colgrave said.
This technology offers many applications for the food industry from helping track contamination in their raw ingredient supply chain, to improving product quality, food safety and meeting regulations.”
The researchers analysed 20 cultivars of rye from 12 countries, which they milled into flour, extracted the gluten proteins and used high resolution mass spectrometry to identify and quantify the proteins. The analysis revealed six proteins specific to all rye varieties but that don’t appear in other grains.
Detecting gluten proteins in their original grain is relatively simple, but when they’re in food products we buy at the supermarket and have been baked, extruded or processed in other ways with other ingredients such as salt and sugar, it is a lot more complex.
The team tested a range of commercial flours, breakfast cereals and snack foods and detected the six rye proteins in all the foods that contained rye as a labeled ingredient. They found one “gluten-free” breakfast cereal that contained trace amounts of rye, which did not appear on the ingredients list, and one sample of flour from the wheat-related grain, spelt, which was contaminated with about two per cent.
New research has debunked the myth that all early varieties of wheat were less allergenic than the varieties grown on Australian farms today.
Charles Sturt University (Charles Sturt) PhD candidate Chris Florides has investigated 170 wheat varieties as part of his research through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Industrial Transformation Centre for Functional Grains (FGC).
“Wheat allergies or gluten intolerance has become a key talking point, not only for people who have diagnosed allergies or consumers who eat gluten-free, but also for wheat breeders and food processors,” Florides said.
“If you search the internet or social media, there’s a lot of speculation that early wheat varieties were not immunogenic and that modern genetic techniques have created wheat varieties that are more allergenic.
“My research examined the allergenicity of wheat varieties grown in Australia from 1860 to 2015, including some original varieties brought from England that were bred to suit Australian conditions. The study found that one of the most allergenic varieties was one grown in the 1800s.”
Florides has also developed a diagnostic method and created databases with information on the allergenicity of these wheat varieties.
“I found there is variation in the levels of allergenicity and it’s hoped varieties with a low content of immunoreactive proteins can now be used in wheat breeding programs and the ones with high content avoided,” Florides said.
“It is not possible to develop completely non-allergenic wheat because the gluten proteins, which are responsible for the immunogenic effects of bread and other wheat products, are necessary for the functionality of the flour used to make these products.
“But I hope that my research will contribute to the development of low-allergenic wheat varieties that could be made into products suitable for people who have mild gluten intolerance.”
FGC Director Professor Chris Blanchard said, “This is an example of the research at the Functional Grains Centre that’s responding to the interest that consumers have regarding the impact of food on their health.
“Ultimately, developing products to meet consumer demands will benefit the entire grains value chain.”
A Coeliac disease expert from The University of Western Australia is calling for greater transparency in the testing of gluten free foods. It comes after reports that some gluten free products contain traces of gluten, potentially dangerous to sufferers of Coeliac disease.
UWA Professor Geoff Forbes said recent studies detected gluten in 14 per cent of imported gluten free foods, nine per cent of gluten free marketed restaurant foods and 2.7 per cent of commonly purchased gluten free foods, including foods manufactured in dedicated gluten free factories.
“These findings are a big concern and a reminder of the difficulties faced by Coeliac disease patients,” he said.
In his article reflecting on the recent reports, and published in the Medical Journal of Australia, Professor Forbes said the governance of gluten free food code compliance was unsatisfactory.
“There are several government agencies with responsibilities for food safety. Despite this, the testing of gluten free foods for food code compliance in the food industry is without Federal or State government oversight, and there is no reporting of test results,” he said.
Professor Forbes said the cumulative effect of tiny traces of gluten in different foods could cause major health consequences for Coeliac disease patients.
“Inadvertent gluten exposure may occur by cross-contamination from known gluten-containing foods, or from foods considered free of gluten by listed ingredient but not labelled gluten free,” he said.
“The very least patients should expect is negligible additional contamination from gluten-free labelled products. The testing of gluten free labelled foods to check the levels of gluten is critical.”
Professor Forbes said a solution to the problem would be to mandate the regular publication of laboratory test results as a simple measure to assure consumers with Coeliac disease.
“This would also be a positive initiative for local gluten free food exporters, wishing to take an international advantage of the tighter Australian gluten free Standard.”
Tip Top Foodservice has expanded its range of gluten-free options for the foodservice sector, launching the Abbott’s Village Bakery range of gluten-free breads.
The new products include a gluten-free rustic white, soy and linseed bread, and mixed seeds.
The breads cater for an ever-increasing demand for free-from offerings, which includes the 12.1 per cent of Australians who aren’t eating wheat or gluten, according to a CSIRO Healthy Diet Score 2016 report.
Tip Top Foodservice national account manager Darren O’Brien said the new Abbott’s Village Bakery gluten-free products don’t fall apart and are perfect for sandwiches.
Coeliac Australia reports that 90 per cent of gluten-free consumers would be very likely to return to a restaurant where they had a good gluten free experience.
Sixty-five per cent said the coeliac in the party chooses the restaurant.
“Restaurants and foodservice outlets need to keep in mind that it’s not just the gluten-free customer but potentially their entire group that you could be missing out on if you aren’t providing good gluten-free options,” said O’Brien.
The range is also dairy-free and free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives.
With six months frozen shelf life, the Abbott’s Village Bakery Gluten Free range is available frozen through foodservice distributors.
Research from and Charles Sturt University has shone new light onto why some people who don’t suffer coeliac disease choose gluten-free foods.
PhD candidate at the Australian Research Council (ARC) Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Functional Grains (FGC) Kyah Hester’s research is focused on non-coeliac gluten avoidance.
“The popularity of gluten-free diets has gained traction over the last decade, to a point where up to 20 per cent of the population is estimated to be engaged in gluten avoidance behaviours,” Hester (pictured) said. “This far exceeds the estimated prevalence of gluten-related disorders, such as coeliac disease, suggesting that people are choosing to go gluten-free for a range of reasons which may not be medical in nature.”
Hester’s research involved an online study which weighted its demographic data against information held by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in order to gain an accurate representation of gluten avoidance within the population.
“The research indicates that gluten avoidance rates have plateaued,” Hester said. “The implication for the industry is that, while gluten-free products remain a vital niche market for suffers of coeliac disease, products containing gluten will continue to be used well into the future by healthy consumers.”
The online survey was followed up with an indepth study of non-coeliac gluten avoiders to measure the frequency of avoidance behaviours, participants’ perceptions, determinants of food choice, interpersonal experiences relating to their diets and a wide range of psychological variables, including personality traits.
“The results suggest that non-coeliac gluten avoiders don’t just steer away from gluten but also avoid other food types, such as dairy or eggs,” Hester said. “They were also significantly more likely to experience frequent adverse physiological symptoms, both after the consumption of foods and on a general daily basis.”
Hester hopes her research can be used to give doctors an insight into why people choose to go gluten-free.
“My research highlights that many non-coeliac people aren’t satisfied by the treatment response they get from doctors, leading them to look for solutions online or via experimental diets.
“I hope my research provides insight for doctors, so that they may improve their interactions with this population, helping to reduce the risk of adopting a self-managed diet without proper investigation of their symptoms.” Hester said.
Hester’s research is supervised by Professor Anthony Saliba from CSU’s School of Psychology and Dr Erica McIntyre from the University of Technology Sydney.
Professor Saliba said most research has focused on wheat avoidance but that only tells part of the story.
“Gluten avoidance is characterised by a complex interaction between bodily symptoms and the psychology of individuals. At present, there is a gap in medical care for individuals who present with gastrointestinal symptoms that they feel relate to gluten consumption. This research tells us a lot about those people,” Professor Saliba said.
Hester was awarded a scholarship by FGC. Funded by the Australian Government through the ARC’s Industrial Transformation Training Centres scheme, the FGC is administered by CSU and is an initiative of the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation.
Teff (Eragrostis tef) is the world’s smallest grain and one of the oldest plants, originating in Ethiopia at least 5000 years ago. It is a major food crop in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Outside Ethiopia, teff is grown in Nevada and Idaho, USA, with about 1,200 acres grown each year. Apart from the McNaul family, it has been grown in Australia in experimental quantities in areas of Tasmania and around Tamworth in northern New South Wales.
Teff is a gluten-free wholegrain and as such it has the potential to become in high demand as suitable for consumption by gluten intolerant and health conscious consumers.
Teff’s nutritional content
The scientific literature shows that teff is highly nutritious. Its protein content typically ranges from 8.7 to 11 per cent, similar to wheat, and it has a good balance of amino acids.
Teff flour has a high fibre content (8 per cent dry basis) – several times higher than wheat and rice, higher than sorghum, lower than oat and rye. It also contains the fermentable fibre, resistant starch.
The high fibre content is thanks to its small size. The bran and germ aren’t separated during the milling process thus it’s always consumed in wholegrain form.
Teff is also a good source of minerals and vitamins. It’s high in iron – around two or three times higher than wheat, barley and sorghum. It is also high in calcium, phosphorus, copper, zinc and magnesium. Teff presents in various colours, from white to brown, which is due to the high content of phenolic compounds.
Outback Harvest and product development
Rice has been the traditional crop for NSW Riverina farmers, son Fraser and father Shane McNaul, and they also grow corn and a variety of winter cereals and legumes. But they decided a couple of years ago they needed to diversify their cropping program to become more sustainable and innovative.
The agriculturally rich and diverse Riverina, with its warm to hot climate and ample water supply, makes their farm the perfect place to grow the ancient grain emerging onto the Australian market, teff.
The McNauls planted two varieties of teff, brown and ivory, three years ago. They started a company, Outback Harvest, and approached CSIRO and Food Innovation Australia Ltd (FIAL) to help them develop Australian-grown, gluten-free teff baked goods and extruded snacks that could bring this nutritious grain into the mainstream western palette.
“Without CSIRO and FIAL all we’d have been able to do would be a grain and a flour product,” Fraser said.
“We wouldn’t have been able to do the value-added products so in the long term we’re vertically integrating and that’s helping us out as farmers.”
Fraser has moved to Melbourne to concentrate on developing packaging, marketing and distributing the first retail products, which have been endorsed as gluten-free by Coeliac Australia and Coeliac New Zealand.
Food applications and new markets
Teff flour is traditionally used to make injera (fermented flat bread), kitta (sweet flat bread), chibito (unleavened kitta in balls) and anebabro (double layered kitta).
Unlike flat breads, because gluten is essential to form the spongy texture of baked leavened bread, developing acceptable bread texture with gluten-free flours is an on-going challenge for food technologists. Bread high in teff flour appears to be no exception. Further research into thickening agents or structural ingredients would be needed to successfully develop a gluten-free bread with a high proportion of teff flour.
Teff grain and flour are being imported to the US, Europe and Australia from Ethiopia into the health food store and supermarket sectors and used for making biscuits, cakes, flat breads and muffins in the home. Brown teff produces a darker coloured flour that has a chocolate-like look and taste to it and so is ideally suited to a product like muffins. The ivory teff produces lighter coloured flour with a nutty flavour and is perfect for something like pancakes.
Value-added teff products such as ready-to-eat or convenience foods for retail markets or at commercial scale are emerging. At the time these products were under development for Outback Harvest, there were no others on the market in Australia, although some have come on since.
Owing to its documented nutritional properties, potential new markets for teff could include specialty products for weight management and high nutrient content products like baby food, traditional medicines or supplements.
What CSIRO did
The aims of this work were to demonstrate it was possible to prototype several new gluten-free products using teff as the main ingredient, and to investigate the impact of teff flour on the texture, colour and flavour of new products. CSIRO developed muffin premixes, bread and a crunchy extruded ball, which has potential as a new snack product or breakfast cereal. The McNauls have just commercialised the muffin premix and launched it onto the retail and wholesale health food sector nationally, and in cafés in Melbourne, Geelong and the Surf Coast in Victoria. Other products CSIRO developed are currently being patented.
“There’s been a lot of interest in the products because they’re Australian-grown and certified gluten-free,’ Fraser said.
“With CSIRO’s expertise in food innovation and new product development, and their facilities and expertise helped make it all happen,” Fraser said.
“We’re also looking at other value adding opportunities like snack bars, tortillas and flat breads, and exporting to Asia.”
Restricting gluten may lead to low intake of “heart healthy” whole grains and be bad for your health, according to a new study.
The research, published in British Medical Journal, also found that people without celiac disease who consume gluten have no increased risk of heart disease.
Therefore, the researchers say, the promotion of gluten-free diets among people without celiac disease should not be encouraged.
Dietary gluten triggers inflammation and intestinal damage in people with celiac disease – and is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease, which is reduced after treatment with a gluten-free diet.
But avoidance of gluten among people without celiac disease has also increased in recent years, partly owing to the belief that gluten can have harmful health effects.
Yet despite the rising trend in low gluten or gluten free diets, no long term studies have assessed the relation of dietary gluten with the risk of chronic conditions such as coronary heart disease in people without celiac disease.
So a team of US based researchers decided to examine the association of long term intake of gluten with the development of coronary heart disease.
They analysed data on 64,714 female and 45,303 male US health professionals with no history of coronary heart disease who completed a detailed food questionnaire in 1986 that was updated every four years through to 2010.
Consumption of gluten and development of coronary heart disease was monitored over this 26-year period. After adjusting for known risk factors, no significant association between estimated gluten intake and the risk of subsequent overall coronary heart disease was found.
However, further analyses suggest that restricting dietary gluten may result in a low intake of whole grains, which are associated with lower cardiovascular risk.
The authors point out that this is an observational study, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, and they outline some limitations that could have introduced bias.
Nevertheless, they conclude that their findings “do not support the promotion of a gluten restricted diet with a goal of reducing coronary heart disease risk.”
A recent analysis of a massive study observing the effect of food on the health of nearly 200,000 American health professionals suggested eating more gluten was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
But is it really this simple?
Can gluten be linked to diabetes?
A considerable amount of published research has looked at the potential links between coeliac disease and type 1 diabetes (a chronic condition where the pancreas produces little or no insulin). This has led to the discovery that they often share similar genetic markers linked to the immune system.
Another recent study found that although coeliac disease was more common in people with type 1 diabetes there were no more cases of coeliac disease in people with type 2 diabetes (which usually presents in adulthood, and is typically associated with lifestyle factors) than the general population.
However, while studies in animals suggest gluten may increase risk of developing type 1 diabetes, human studies do not. A large review investigating when infants are first given gluten and their risk of developing type 1 diabetes found no link, unless infants were fed solids in their first three months, which is much younger than the six months recommended by the World Health Organisation.
And in animal studies of type 2 diabetes, it has been suggested gluten may increase the risk of developing diabetes.
How reliable are the study results?
Mice studies are interesting, but we need to look at data from people. This is typically done in either clinical trials, which can assess causality (that one thing caused the other), or by observing groups, which identify associations only (two things happened together, but one didn’t necessarily cause the other).
This new study fits into the latter. The study looked at data from three big studies that started 40 years ago with the Nurses’ Health Study, and continued with Nurses’ Health Study II (1989) and Health Professionals Follow Up Study (1986). These looked at the effect of nutrition on long-term health.
The latest news, suggesting gluten may lower risk of type 2 diabetes, was reported at an American Heart Association conference last week. The full research paper is not readily available, so we have to rely on a press release from the AHA.
This reported that the 20% of people with the highest intake of gluten had a 13% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those eating less than 4g a day (which is equivalent to less than two slices of bread).
So, it could seem that gluten intake is protective against developing type 2 diabetes.
However, a more likely explanation could be that this is an effect of other things in foods that also contain gluten. Perhaps, eating wholegrains – including wheat, barley and rye could be responsible for the reported results. They are key dietary sources of gluten and are rich in fibre and a number of vitamins (such as vitamin E) and minerals (such as magnesium).
Evidence of this can be seen in an earlier analysis of the same data, which found that those consuming the most wholegrain had a 27% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
It’s also plausible that the foods people were eating that didn’t contain gluten were more likely to be discretionary foods, such as French fries, and that could be a factor. This was also seen in another analysis of this data, which found the highest consumers of French fries had a 21% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Avoiding gluten can mean losing important nutrients
So, any conclusions regarding effects of gluten in prevention of type 2 diabetes cannot be drawn from this study. The authors acknowledge this in the conference media release. The observed effect is likely to be related to other factors in foods consumed or not consumed.
The study also suggests that for people who do not have a clinical reason to avoid gluten (such as coeliac disease, wheat allergy or other gluten sensitivities), restricting the intake of foods that could have other benefits can be harmful. They need to look for replacement sources of fibre and other nutrients.
Avoiding gluten is an increasing trend, possibly linked to media attention associated with popular alternative dietary messages such as “paleo”, or following the latest fad diets observed in celebrities and athletes. This may not be a problem if nutrients are replaced by other foods. But that can be challenging, particularly if there are diet or food restrictions in such plans.
To get the best out of this way of eating, it’s important to have a comprehensive understanding of diet and nutrition, which may require a visit to a dietitian or other healthcare professional.
Including foods containing gluten, unless you have a medical reason to exclude them, can be the simplest way to benefit from the fibre and other nutrients they contain. If you wish to remove gluten from your diet, you should look to include healthy, naturally gluten-free grains such as quinoa or buckwheat.
Although this study is interesting, it’s important to remember that without a medical reason, going gluten free is unlikely to result in any therapeutic benefits. But if you do, you need to ensure you don’t replace these foods with discretionary foods high in fat, salt and sugar.
It’s hard not to notice that the range of gluten-free foods available in supermarkets has increased massively in recent years. This is partly because the rise in the number of people diagnosed with coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity, and partly because celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Miley Cyrus and Victoria Beckham have praised gluten-free diets. What used to be prescription-only food is now a global health fad. But for how much longer? New research from Harvard University has found a link between gluten-free diets and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Gluten is a protein found in cereals such as wheat, rye and barley. It is particularly useful in food production. For example, it gives elasticity to dough, helping it to rise and keep its shape, and providing a chewy texture. Many types of foods contain gluten, including less obvious ones such as salad dressing, soup and beer.
The same protein that is so useful in food production is a nightmare for people with coeliac disease. Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the body mistakenly reacts to gluten as if it were a threat to the body. The condition is quite common, affecting one in 100 people, but only a quarter of those who have the disease have been diagnosed.
There is evidence that the popularity of gluten-free diets has surged, even though the incidence of coeliac disease has remained stable. This is potentially due to increasing numbers of people with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity. In these cases, people exhibit some of the symptoms of coelaic disease but without having an immune response. In either case, avoiding gluten in foods is the only reliable way to control symptoms, which may include diarrhoea, abdominal pain and bloating.
Without any evidence for beneficial effects, many people without coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity are now turning to gluten-free diets as a “healthy” alternative to a normal diet. Supermarkets have reacted to meet this need by stocking ever growing “free from” ranges. The findings of this recent study, however, suggest that there could be a significant drawback to adopting a gluten-free diet that was not previously known.
What the Harvard group behind this study have reported is that there is an inverse association between gluten intake and type 2 diabetes risk. This means that the less gluten found in a diet the higher the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The data for this exciting finding comes from three separate, large studies which collectively included almost 200,000 people. Of those 200,000 people, 15,947 cases of type 2 diabetes were confirmed during the follow-up period. Analysis showed that those who had the highest intake of gluten had an 80% lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those who had the lowest levels of gluten intake.
This study has important implications for those who either have to avoid or choose to avoid gluten in their diet. Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that affects more than 400m people worldwide – a number which is certain to increase for many years to come.
Collectively, diabetes is responsible for around 10% of the entire NHS budget and drugs to treat diabetes alone cost almost £1 billion annually. There is no cure for type 2 diabetes and remission is extremely rare. This means that once diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it is almost impossible to revert back to being healthy.
It is important to note that the data for this study was retrospectively gathered. This allows for very large numbers to be included but relies on food-frequency questionnaires collected every two to four years and the honesty of those recruited to the study. This type of study design is rarely as good as a prospective study where you follow groups of people randomly assigned to either have low- or high-gluten diets over many years. However, prospective studies are expensive to run and it’s difficult to find enough people willing to take part in them.
While there is some evidence for a link between coeliac disease and type 1 diabetes, this is the first study to show a link between gluten consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes. This is an important finding. For those who choose a gluten-free diet because they believe it to be healthy, it may be time to reconsider your food choices.
Top image: Teri Virbickis/Shutterstock.com
Manufacturer: Goodman Fielder
Launch date: July 2016
Ingredients: Water, wholemeal rice flour (18%), modified tapioca starch (1442), maize starch, milled linseed, canola oil, sugar, egg white, soy flour, iodised salt, psyllium flour, cultured dextrose, vinegar, yeast, emulsifier (491), thickener (464), vegetable gum (412), vitamin (thiamin)
Shelf Life: 14 days
Packaging: Modified Atmosphere Pack (MAP) which excludes oxygen
Country of origin: Australia
Made with care from gluten free wholegrains, Helga’s Gluten Free Wholemeal delivers the closest thing to a real bread experience without the gluten. Just one serve (two slices) contributes 25 per cent towards the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council 48g Whole Grain Daily Target Intake.
To prove just how delicious gluten free wholemeal can be, Helga’s has commissioned Sophie Henley, owner of boutique Sydney wholefoods cafe, Henley’s Wholefoods, to create a series of mouth-watering recipes featuring the new Helga’s Gluten Free Wholemeal.
Inspired by the impressive, Instagram worthy menu on offer at Henley’s Wholefoods, Sophie Henley and her team have paired Helga’s Gluten Free Wholemeal with a selection of fresh ingredients to create the recipes. For example, the Chicken Finger Sandwich is packed full of nutritious ingredients and is gluten and dairy free so it’s perfect for entertaining friends and family with dietary requirements.
Given those following a gluten free diet need to avoid wheat, rye, barley and oats, getting enough wholegrains in the diet can be tricky.
Containing no artificial colours and flavours, Helga’s Gluten Free Wholemeal is dairy free and a source of fibre.
Made by the seed and grain experts, the new Wholemeal recipe joins Helga’s Gluten Free Sunflower & Red Quinoa, Helga’s Gluten Free Soy & Linseed and Helga’s Gluten Free 5 Seeds.
Sunny Queen Meal Solutions is helping to cater for coeliac sufferers with its pre-prepared real egg meals designed exclusively for commercial kitchens and the hospitality industry. In Australia 1 in 60 women and 1 in 80 men are affected by coeliac disease, and following a strict gluten free diet is the only way they can minimise their symptoms.
Based on research that has shown Australians indulge in 30.5 million take-away and 21 million eat-in visits every month, Kate Di Prima, an accredited practicing dietician with 23 years’ experience, has advised that restaurants revisit their menu offering to help alleviate the grief coeliac customers face when purchasing pre-made meals.
“Food intolerances are becoming more common every day, so it’s important that cafes and restaurants keep up with our changing dietary needs,” she said.
“The safest way to cater for coeliac sufferers is to offer egg options, as eggs are a simple and suitable gluten free solution – high in nutrients and protein, and are naturally gluten free, providing a low risk option for people with coeliac disease.”
John O’Hara, Managing Director of Sunny Queen Meal Solutions, said it’s important for hospitality and catering businesses to cater for all dietary requirements, in particular for the more prevalent diseases currently affecting Australians.
“From omelettes and poached eggs for breakfast to fritters and egg bakes for dinner, eggs are an incredibly versatile meal option that will satisfy both coeliac sufferers and those without dietary restrictions,” he said.
“We’re proud that the entire Sunny Queen Meal Solutions product range is gluten free, providing the hospitality industry with a range of suitable meal options to add to their menus.”
Sunny Queen Meal Solutions products use real eggs, fresh from Sunny Queen farms, and are prepared within stringent health and safety guidelines to ensure they can be consumed by customers that are gluten intolerant.
The Allergen Control Group (ACG) has announced the addition of British Standards Institution (BSI) to their Gluten-Free Certification Program as a third-party auditing and certification company.
Based in Australia, BSI will support ACG’s goal to increase the range of gluten-free options in the Asia-Pacific market, as well as increasing the number of gluten-free brands permitted to display the Gluten-Free Certification Program trademarks on their company’s gluten-free packaging.
“As a trusted supplier of food safety and quality training courses, BSI welcomes the opportunity to expand their capabilities, in order to better serve the food industry,” said Todd Redwood, Food Director at BSI Asia Pacific.
“With its Food Centre of Excellence based in Australia, BSI will help support the program’s goal to expand in the Asia Pacific as well as global marketplace.”
In a world-first, Australian scientists have managed to make one of the nation’s favourite drinks gluten-free.
CSIRO’s Kebari barley has been used to create the world’s first commercially produced, full flavoured, barley-based gluten-free beer.
The drink will not be available in Australia however, instead launching in Germany.
The beer’s base (Kebari barley) meets World Health Organisation standards of gluten-free, but it does not meet Australian standards.
“Normal barley has a level of about 50,000 parts per million of what are called hordines, which is the gluten equivalent in barley,” said CSIRO director Lionel Henderson in a comment to the ABC.
“We’ve been successful in being able to drop the level in the Kebari barley back to between four and five parts per million.”
According to Australian standards however, a product must have zero detectable gluten before it can be labelled ‘gluten-free’.
“Whilst we are growing the grain in Australia, our initial key markets will be in export to other countries where they have adopted the WHO guidelines of under 20 parts per million,” said Henderson.
Product Name: Thankyou Gluten Free Muesli with Dates & Toasted Coconut
Product Manufacturer: N/A
Launch date: Monday 7th September
Ingredients: Seeds (32%) (Sunflower Kernels, Linseeds, Pepitas, Buckwheat, Chia), Fruits (Dates (7%) (Dates, Rice Flour), Raisins, Coconut (4%) (SO2 free)), Nuts (Cashews, Almonds), Puffed Rice (Rice Flour, Rice Bran), Rice Flakes (Rice Flour, Fructose, Salt Emulsifier (471)), Brown Sugar, Honey, Sunflower Oil, Puffed Millet, Cinnamon, Natural Flavours, Natural Antioxidant (Mixed Tocopherols (307b) (Contains Soy)).
Shelf Life: 1 year
Brand Website: https://thankyou.co
Describe the product: This gluten free muesli actually tastes amazing. It’s packed full of all your fave wholesome ingredients− dates and toasted coconut, mixed together with roasted (and perfectly crunchy) nuts, sunflower seeds, linseeds, pepitas, and chia.
Contact Email: email@example.com
At different times, fat, sodium, carbohydrates, sugar and protein have all been targeted as “bad” dietary factors. Right now the focus seems to have shifted to gluten: a protein found in cereal grains, especially wheat but also rye, barley and oats.
For a small proportion of consumers such as those diagnosed with coeliac disease or wheat allergy, the avoidance of wheat and other gluten-containing foods is essential. Symptoms for sufferers can include nausea, vomiting, cramping, bloating, abdominal pain, fatigue and even very serious conditions such as liver disease.
The prevalence in the population of coeliac disease and wheat allergy, while significant, sits between 1-2%.
But consumer foods labelled as either “gluten-free” or “lactose-free” are growing. And restrictive diets such as paleo – which advocates eliminating grain and dairy products – are also growing in popularity. This suggests a lot more people are making the choice to go gluten- or wheat-free over and above those with a diagnosed allergy.
To understand more about this trend CSIRO conducted a nationwide survey of nearly 1,200 people selected at random from the Australian electoral roll. The aim of the research was not only to quantify the prevalence of wheat avoidance in Australia but also to understand why they made this decision.
Wheat avoidance in Australia
The survey revealed that as many as one in ten Australian adults, or approximately 1.8 million people, were avoiding or limiting their consumption of wheat-based products. Women were more likely to be avoiding wheat than men.
The survey also revealed that more than half (53%) of those who were avoiding wheat were also avoiding dairy-based foods.
Why is this an issue? According to current Australian Dietary Guidelines, grain- and dairy-based foods are important components of a balanced diet. They contribute significantly to the daily dietary fibre and calcium intake of both adults and children. They also deliver other important nutrients such as protein, vitamins and minerals, and if eating whole grain, resistant starch.
So why are people choosing to avoid wheat?
The reasons behind this decision are complex. Some respondents reported that they were avoiding wheat due to a diagnosis of coeliac disease (1.1%), or because a family member has been diagnosed with coeliac disease. Others stated they were avoiding wheat for weight-control or taste preferences.
However, the vast majority of the survey’s wheat-avoiding respondents – which equates to 7% of non-coeliac Australians – were avoiding wheat-containing foods to manage a range of adverse symptoms they attributed to the consumption of these products. Symptoms were mostly gastrointestinal in nature (bloating, wind and abdominal cramps) but also included fatigue/tiredness.
When asked if they had any formal diagnosis, including that of an intolerance, allergy or coeliac disease, which required them to avoid wheat, most (84%) of these symptomatic individuals said no.
So what sources are people relying on when it comes to making decisions such as avoiding wheat?
There is a great deal of information that links the consumption of specific foods to adverse symptoms. According to our data, those who decide to eliminate wheat tend to do so based on advice from sources such as complementary practitioners like naturopaths, family, friends, the media and to a lesser extent their GP or a medical specialist.
Is wheat really so bad?
Until recently it was thought that gluten was only really a problem for individuals with coeliac disease. Our findings, plus the extraordinary rise in popularity of the gluten-free diet in Australia and elsewhere, suggest that, apart from coeliac disease and wheat allergy, other conditions associated with the ingestion of wheat are emerging as health care concerns.
Currently, the driver of most of the research activity in this area is the concept of non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). NCGS is defined as adverse (but not allergic) reactions to the consumption of gluten, where gastrointestinal symptoms improve on a gluten-free diet.
Many aspects of NCGS remain unclear, including how prevalent it is, how it presents itself, the variation in symptoms and how to treat it. There is also considerable debate as to whether it is in fact gluten or some other component of wheat that triggers the reported symptoms.
Fructans, for example, are short-chain carbohydrates which are found in wheat-based products. For a proportion of the general population, fructans, along with other short-chain carbohydrates (collectively called FODMAPS), can trigger symptoms such as bloating, wind or cramps by holding water in the gut or through the rapid production of gas by intestinal bacteria.
For these people, finding out what is actually causing their symptoms can be difficult because they’re most likely avoiding more than one dietary component at a time.
Until we know more, there’s a risk that a significant proportion of Australians are undertaking diets that are unnecessarily restrictive and potentially creating nutritional imbalances.
That the majority of those with symptoms appear to be bypassing conventional medical advice is also of concern. This means more serious clinical conditions could be going undetected.