A Quick Look Ahead at Gluten-Free 2015
By: Ea Stewart
As media attention on the gluten-free diet grew, hundreds of new gluten-free products launched in 2014. Fortunately, for those who have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) and need to follow a gluten-free diet to be healthy, there will continue to be growth in the gluten-free product marketplace in 2015, as well as on-going research into potential new treatments.
Here’s a quick look at what you can expect to see on the gluten-free horizon in 2015.
Food Trends: Gluten-Free and Other Products
Ancient Grains: Expect to see more nutrient-rich gluten-free grains and grain alternatives pop up on restaurant menus, and on grocery store shelves, as the popularity of ancient grains, including millet, amaranth, quinoa, flax and chia, continues to rise. By learning more about these ancient grains, dietitians can educate their clients on which gluten-free ancient grains provide the best nutritional bang for their buck, and also can show them how to incorporate these delicious grains and grain alternatives in to their diets.
Sprouted Grains: Sprouted grains, which may provide additional nutritional benefits over non-sprouted grains, are expected to grow in popularity. Many consumers, especially those with celiac disease and NCGS, have found sprouted grains helpful with digestion and therefore beneficial to include in their diet.
Fermented Foods: Other products that may help with digestive health include fermented foods, which contain live cultures to promote a healthy gut microbiota. These foods include yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, kefir and tempeh. Although typically naturally gluten-free, some of these foods (e.g., certain types of miso) may contain gluten, so dietitians need to be prepared to help their clients safely navigate the fermented foods aisle.
On the Horizon: New Treatments and Research
New Studies: A national clinical research study is currently underway to determine if an investigational medication, in addition to a gluten-free diet, may help patients better manage on-going symptoms of their celiac disease. In addition, the study will evaluate if the medication may help to improve damage to the lining of the intestine caused by consuming trace amounts of gluten.
Dietitians also should expect to see more research in the area of NCGS, both in regards to gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., there may be an overlap between NCGS and IBS, where a low FODMAP diet may be of benefit, as well as non-gastrointestinal symptoms including headache, fatigue, neuropathies, joint and muscle pain, and depression.
New Medications: Larazotide acetate, a zonulin inhibitor, also is under investigation as a potential medication for celiac patients. Zonulin is a protein which has been shown to increase gut permeability in celiac disease, and initial trials have been promising, showing patients taking larazotide acetate, in conjunction with a gluten-free diet, had significantly fewer gastrointestinal symptoms, along with decreased headache and tiredness, as compared to placebo.
By staying abreast of emerging treatments for celiac disease and new gluten-free products on the horizon, dietitians can help their clients stay on top of the latest product launches, research and medical treatments for celiac disease and NCGS. In addition, as some clients with celiac disease remain symptomatic despite strict adherence to a gluten-free diet, it is important for dietitians to know what other dietary strategies, (e.g., a low FODMAP diet trial, sprouted grains and fermented foods) they can recommend to their clients.