Alternative Grains as Potential Raw Material for Gluten- Free Food Development in The Diet of Celiac and Gluten- Sensitive Patients

Review Article

Austin J Nutri Food Sci. 2014;2(3): 1016.

Alternative Grains as Potential Raw Material for Gluten– Free Food Development in The Diet of Celiac and Gluten– Sensitive Patients

María de Lourdes Moreno, Isabel Comino and Carolina Sousa*

Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Seville, Sevilla, Spain

*Corresponding author: :Carolina Sousa. Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Seville, Sevilla, Spain

Received: February 19, 2014; Accepted: March 05, 2014; Published: March 13, 2014


Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder resulting from gluten intolerance and is based on a genetic predisposition. Gluten is a protein composite found in the cereals wheat, rye, barley and certain oat varieties. A strict gluten–free diet is the only currently available therapeutic treatment for patients with celiac disease. Rising demands for gluten–free products parallels the apparent or real increase in celiac disease, non–celiac gluten sensitivity and gluten allergy. However, gluten removal results in major problems for bakers, and currently, many gluten–free products available on the market are of low quality exhibiting poor mouthfeel and flavor. Thus, an increasing trend in research is focusing on the application of alternative grains potentially healthy to elaborate gluten–free products. A promising area is the use of cereals (rice, corn and sorghum), minor cereals (fonio, teff, millet and job’s tears) or pseudocereals such as amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa. Nevertheless, commercialization of these products is still quite limited. The aim of this work is to review recent advances in research about the nutritional quality and potential health benefits of alternative grains tolerated by patients with gluten related pathologies.

Keywords: Celiac disease; Gluten–free diet; Cereals; Grains; Pseudocereals; Minor cereals.


CD: Celiac Disease; GFD: Gluten Free Diet; NCGS: Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

Introduction and Background

Celiac disease (CD), a common autoimmune enteropathy elicited following gluten ingestion in patients with a genetic predisposition, affects ˜1% of the general population although this percentage is probably an underestimation since the condition often being left undiagnosed [1–4]. Gluten is a complex mixture of proteins called prolamins and glutenins. Depending on the cereal, proteins of the prolamin fraction have specific names: gliadins (in wheat), hordeins (in barley), secalins (in rye) or avenins (in oat). A common characteristic of these proteins is the presence of multiple proline and glutamine residues, making them resistant to gastrointestinal digestion and more exposed to deamination by tissue transglutaminase [3]. Ingestion of these proteins leads to the inflammation, atrophy, and hyperplasia of the small–intestinal crypts of the celiac patient. However, this disease not only affects the gut, but it is a systemic disease that may cause injury to the skin, liver, joints, brain, heart, and other organs [5].

To date, the mainstay of treatment for CD is a strict life–long adherence to a gluten–free diet (GFD). For most patients, CD goes in remission when they adhere to a gluten–exclusion diet, and they relapse when gluten is reintroduced into the diet [3,6]. Complying with a GFD is difficult and affects the patients’ quality of life, but a strict diet is critical to reduce morbidity and mortality [7].

Gluten is a protein that can be separated from flour when the starch and other minor components of the flour are removed by washing out with running water. The resulting gluten contains approximately 65% water. On a dry matter basis, gluten contains 75–86% protein, the remainder being carbohydrate and lipid, which are held strongly within the gluten–protein matrix [8–9]. The unique characteristics of gluten (extensibility, resistance to stretch, mixing tolerance, gas holding ability) favor its use in many food products [9]. There are two main reasons why alternative approaches to the GFD are actively sought. On the one hand, because a large amount of gluten is obtained during the manufacture of starch and the common use of starch as food additive or ingredients, this may turn out to be problematic for celiac patients, since gluten proteins may be found in unexpected sources such as meat, fish or milk products. On the other hand, the removal of gluten presents major problems for bakers, and currently, many gluten–free products available on the market are of low quality exhibiting poor mouthfeel and flavor [9,10]. In this work, we will review the current status of alternative grains with no or low immunogenic content which may be potential tolerated by patients with CD.

Analyses and Interpretation

The viscoelastic network generated by the gluten enables an excellent aerated structure in food products [5]. In contrast, the quality of the gluten–free products available on the market, and food choices, may represent major determinants in the deficiencies in macronutrients and micronutrients of celiac patients [11]. An unbalance in the percentage of energy intake coming from carbohydrates in celiac patients on a GFD may have nutritional implications in relation with dietary intakes of B–vitamins, iron and fiber, as grain foods contribute a large percentage to the daily intake of these nutrients [12]. Gluten–free cereal foods are frequently rich in carbohydrates and fats and they are made using refined glutenfree flour or starch not enriched or fortified [13]. As a result, many gluten–free cereal foods do not contain the same levels of B–vitamins, iron and fiber as their gluten–containing counterparts [13,14]. ifferent proteins have been proposed as alternative for both playing the polymer role and increasing the nutritional value of gluten–free products. The incorporation of other ingredients/nutrients like omega–3 lipids, specific proteins, etc. is a choice to improve the nutritional composition of gluten–free products.

Many family members grains of grasses, closely related to wheat, rye and barley are considered celiac–toxic based on taxonomy. Further studies have supported this hypothesis by molecular evidences focused on protein homology in grains [5,15,16]. Members belonging to other tribes, are considered safe and can serve as substitutes and provide flours for cooking and baking for celiac and non celiac gluten–sensitive individuals (Figure 1). There are protein studies in support of this conclusion, although the studies are not sufficiently complete to provide more than guidance [5].

Citation: Moreno ML, Comino I, Sousa C. Alternative Grains as Potential Raw Material for Gluten-Free Food Development in The Diet of Celiac and Gluten-Sensitive Patients. Austin J Nutri Food Sci. 2014;2(3): 1016. ISSN: 2381-8980.