Sunday, November 28, 2010


Celiac disease is a genetically caused intestinal disorder that interferes with nutrient absorption from ingested foods across the intestine into the blood stream. Those affected by this disorder are highly allergic to gluten protein that sets of autoimmune reaction which tends to destroy the villi, the small finger lining of the intestine. Gluten protein present in wheat based products affects the lives of millions of consumers all over the world. Considering that wheat constitutes one of the most widely used raw materials by the processed food industry, preventing exposure to gluten is indeed a challenge for the gluten allergic consumers. Besides wheat, other grains such as Spelt, Barley, Rye, Triticale etc also contain gluten and products containing such grains are also to be avoided by Celiac patients. Since products like bread, biscuits etc are based on wheat, for the benefit of Celiac patients food industry has been able to evolve gluten-free products using starchy ingredients like rice, corn, potato, millets, chick pea etc. How ever, out of all them rice was found to be an effective substitute that can give products comparable in eating quality to that of normal wheat based products.

"The neutral taste of rice ingredients and the small amounts needed mean that adding them to the formula will not affect the overall taste and appearance of a finished cookie or cracker, except that the texture will be improved. Also, by adding a small amount of the correct rice starch, production losses arising from breakage of cookies or crackers on the production line can be greatly reduced. Under the right technical conditions, gluten-free bread made with rice ingredients, along with other starches, can exhibit appealing characteristics such as improved volume, excellent taste and texture, stable crumb structure and good sliceability. Pasta formulated with rice ingredients can be allergen-free while featuring excellent cooking behavior and perfect elasticity and bite. In addition, rice derivatives can be rich in vitamins (especially vitamins B and E), as well as minerals (especially magnesium and phosphorous) and antioxidants (such as gamma oryzanol, which is found only in rice). This places such products among the best choices of ingredients to enrich the nutritional profiles of foods such as gluten-free bakery products and extruded cereals and pastas. All in all, when you factor in their clean-label characteristics, natural rice ingredients can offer very effective, marketable and delectable solutions to a variety of food formulation challenges, beginning with baby food and certainly including gluten-free foods.

Though accurate statistics are hard to come by, a conservative estimate puts the number affected by this disease at 1% of world population but how far it is realistic is not known. In India it is estimated that 0.3% of the population, numbering about 3 million may have this ailment though many more must be suffering without ever knowing about it due to poor health-check up system and poverty. Use of rice as a substitute is eminently considered desirable from the nutrition angle also because rice protein compares well with that present in human milk in terms of amino acid profile and other quality factors. Being extremely white in color, milled and polished rice containing very low fat level and about 7% protein, when used in bread formulations provides extreme culinary satisfaction. Besides a life savior for Celiac patients, rice based bread can be a general purpose bakery product, especially suited to consumers in rice eating countries. Already rice cakes are very popular in many eastern countries though they are made by steaming and rice based baked products can be expected to be popular.


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