An Italian company has invented a way of treating wheat so that it no longer contains the allergens that celiac (gluten-allergy) patients react to. That means, you can eat gluten-free pasta and breads that taste like normal pasta and bread, but don’t cause the nasty gluten-based reactions.

Being curious as to how that works, I dug out their patent and found this key procedure:

  1. Soak the wheat grains in tap water (100 grams of wheat grains in 500 ml water) for one hour.
  2. Use a sieve to drain the water, leaving just the wheat grains.
  3. Microwave the grains for two minutes at 1000 Watts.
  4. Cool the microwaved grains to room temperature.

Microwaves are destructive – no big surprise there! But it also raises another question: what else do microwaves change in the process, and how does that affect the quality of our food, and at the end of it all, our health?

Press release:!YM89pD

Patent text:

3 Replies to “Want some gluten-free wheat?”

  1. That headline is a bit misleading. To quote the article: Gluten-free foods often have less dietary fiber and other micronutrients, making them less nutritious and they also tend to cost more.

    So it isn't gluten-free that's the risk factor, it's the substitutes commonly used in processed food products that create the additional risk. Substituting gluten with nutritionally denser foods (examples include quinoa or buchweizen, translation isn't coming spontaneously to mind) shouldn't cause an increased risk but rather a decreased risk according to that statement. But then you'd have to make everything from scratch yourself. And it costs more.

  2. Microwaved wheat likely has fewer micronutrients than traditional wheat, too.

    What the study seems to show is that those who avoid gluten unnecessarily seem to be more prone to becoming diabetic (for whatever reasons—the study does not point to definitive causes). If there is no other significant gain from going gluten-free, one might ask if it's worth the risks.

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