Are gluten-free foods healthy?

Are gluten-free foods healthy?
Are gluten-free foods healthy?

Many of these products do not have a significant amount of fiber and protein, while they contain considerable amounts of fat and allergens. In Argentina, 1 in 12 children under 5 years old suffers from some type of food allergy.

This is why researchers from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) developed and still continue with a project focused on improving nutritional quality and avoid allergens in foods without TACCincorporating non-traditional ingredients and replacing fats.

“There are some foods that trigger, in sensitive people, an immune response and produce different types of symptoms. These can be dermatological, gastrointestinal, respiratory manifestations and, in the worst case, anaphylactic shock that can lead to death. These types of foods are known as the big eight: milk, eggs, soy, crustaceans, nuts, wheat, peanuts and fish. They are the ones that trigger more than 90% of food allergies,” explained the project director, Laura Lopezwho works as a researcher and professor in the Department of Bromatology, at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry of the UBA.

And he added: “After analyzing the gluten-free food products on the market, what we sought was to formulate foods that do not have, at least, some of the allergens, and “that have a higher nutritional quality than what can currently be found in stores.”

The consumption of gluten does not cause an immediate response in the body nor is it life-threatening, but it does gradually affect the body, potentially triggering serious long-term complications, such as certain types of lymphoma.

On the other hand, in our country between 1 and 2 percent of the population suffers from some type of food allergy, and 1 in 12 children under 5 years old has this disorderwhich are increasingly common, according to data from the Argentine Association of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

UBA research on foods without TACC

The research aims break the myth that if a food is gluten-free it is healthiersince although they have benefits on the one hand, they suffer from nutritional deficiencies on the other.

This is how it was proposed to address these challenges by developing gluten-free foods. They are also free of common allergens, such as milk, soy, peanuts and eggs.

To do this, products were formulated using alternative ingredients that improve their nutritional quality. The first step was analyze gluten-free products, for which they surveyed businesses and dietetics in CABA. Among the different items were premixes for cooking pizzas, biscuits, cookies and bread, as well as ready-made sweet and savory foods: croissants, puddings, cookies, cereal bars, noodles, breads and toast.

Among the alternatives proposed by the research team is the incorporation of ingredients with high nutritional value, such as teff flour, lupine flour, pea protein and inulin. Also the replacement of saturated fats with better quality oils, such as soybean oil. And add the enrichment with vitamins and iron, something that is guaranteed in wheat flour by a national law, but that does not exist for gluten-free premixes and flours.

Likewise, another part of the research process consisted of develop an innovative method to detect allergens, which may improve the accessibility of safe foods for those with dietary restrictions. This method is cheaper than existing commercial kits.

This step was developed by Dr. Karina Cellerino as part of his doctoral thesis, and allows the identification of the presence of soy, egg, peanut and milk proteins in matrices with gluten-free flours.

Finally, it is worth highlighting that the active project of the Bromatology Chair, goes beyond pure research. The team’s research results are not only published in scientific journals, but also have a high potential for transfer to the food industry through collaborations with companies and SMEs.

Source: Ambito

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