As if the possibility of eating a wheat starch muffin while drinking a barley-based beer wasn’t shocking enough, Dr. Marco Gobbetti of Italy rounded out the final day of the symposium with a presentation of a potential way for celiacs to safely consume wheat flour. Certain means of producing this flour lead to a sort of gluten degradation, during processing and fermentation. Enough breakdown and the gluten content might be able to duck in at a safe level, to give baked goods the texture of “real food” without rendering ill those who are celiac or gluten sensitive. The modified product contains what he called “hydrolyzed gluten.”
Test subjects with celiac disease consumed baked goods containing the equivalent of 100g of wheat flour, within which was 10g of hydrolyzed gluten. The ratio worked out to 10 parts per million (ppm) gluten in the item. The vast majority of the subjects were just fine! He ran another test with a baked good at 8 ppm gluten, and the results were even better.
There was some positive serology and, in some cases, damage to the small intestine, but keep in mind this procedure is very early in development. He is also studying the effects of probiotics and prebiotics on celiac patients.
Dr. Gobbetti believes this special flour can be used to make commercially available bread that is just like normal bread. We know that anything that makes the gluten-free diet less of an inconvenience will go over very well with the CCA membership, so I’m looking forward to future updates on this exciting project!