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HEALTH > New option for celiac patients

NEW YORK - Reuters

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Green banana pasta could be what’s for dinner for people with celiac disease. Researchers from Brazil found most people with and without the intestinal condition, which interferes with the body’s ability to process certain grains, liked the taste and texture of the alternative dinner option.

In people with celiac disease, the immune system reacts to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Eating foods with gluten damages the small intestine and keeps it from absorbing nutrients.

The only treatment for celiac disease is to go on a strict gluten-free diet, which means avoiding traditional breads, cereals and pastas.

Brazilian researchers wanted to see if pasta made with green banana flour, a cheap and easily produced alternative, they say - might be another possibility.

Nutritionist Raquel Botelho used a test pasta made out of flour from dried ground bananas, egg whites, water and guar and xanthan gums, which add firmness and elasticity. They fed the creation to 25 taste-testers with celiac disease and another 50 without the condition.

The researchers also gave the non-celiac group a whole wheat pasta option, made from wheat flour and eggs, as a comparison meal.

More than four out of five celiac participants rated the green banana pasta as a six or higher on a nine-point scale. That figure was lower for people who weren’t gluten intolerant, about 60 percent gave the pasta a good rating. But they rated it the same as whole wheat pasta for flavor.

June/30/2012

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