The Internet has been abuzz this week with a new study from the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology that concluded hydrolyzed wheat protein may be safe for Celiac patients to eat.
If you caught wind of this, you might have thought, “Well, great! If only I knew what hydrolyzed wheat protein was and in what products it’s found!” Well, I did that research for you:
Hydrolyzed wheat protein is a natural protein derived from wheat or wheat flour with the starch removed.
Still confused? Me too, sort of. In reading over the study, I found that the researchers use the term “fermented wheat flour” as a substitute for hydrolyzed wheat flour. “Fermentation of wheat flour with sourdough lactobacilli [bacteria] and fungal proteases [groups of enzymes that hydrolyze (breakdown) peptide bonds of proteins] decreases the concentration of gluten.”
This decreased concentration makes the wheat flour more tolerable to Celiacs. Ta-da!
The researchers found that “A 60-day diet of baked goods made from hydrolyzed wheat flour, manufactured with sourdough lactobacilli and fungal proteases, was not toxic to patients with CD.”
But the most important discovery, I think, of the study is that this is promising for future advancements in making wheat flours non-toxic. Luigi Greco, MD, PhD, lead author of the study noted, “Our findings support further research that explores therapies that could reduce the toxicity of gluten for celiac patients beyond the standard gluten-free diet…”
By the way, how appropriate is it that researchers at the University of Naples made this discovery? Who cares more about being able to eat wheat than Italians?
I’m not gonna run out and buy things that contain hydrolyzed wheat protein right away, mostly because from what I gathered it’s most commonly used in make-up. But it does make me hopeful.