Gluten-Free Breads

September 30, 2011

Whether as muffins, rolls, or loaves, wheat bread is found in most households. But few consumers may appreciate the substance that helps the dough rise, keeps the bread from falling apart, makes it chewy, and adds to its flavor.

That substance is gluten. Breads, cakes, cereals, pastas, and many other foods are made with wheat or added wheat gluten to improve their baking quality and texture.

Technically, gluten represents specific proteins that occur naturally in wheat. However, the term “gluten” is commonly used to refer to certain proteins that occur naturally not only in wheat, but also in rye, barley, and crossbreeds of these grains and that can harm people who have celiac disease. The only treatment for this disorder is a life-long gluten-free diet.

Eating gluten doesn’t bother most consumers, but some people with celiac disease have health-threatening reactions, says Stefano Luccioli, M.D., a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allergist and immunologist. They need to know whether a food contains gluten.

FDA has been working to define “gluten-free” to:

  • eliminate uncertainty about how food producers may label their products.
  • assure consumers who must avoid gluten that foods labeled “gluten-free” meet a clear standard established and enforced by FDA.

FDA’s actions on Aug. 2 bring the agency one step closer to a standard definition of “gluten-free.” On this date:

  • FDA reopens the public comment period on its proposed gluten-free labeling rule published on Jan. 23, 2007.
  • FDA makes available, and seeks comments on, a report on the health effects of gluten in people with celiac disease. The report includes a safety assessment on levels of gluten sensitivity in people with the disease.

Is Gluten-Free for Me?

“Eating gluten-free is not meant to be a diet craze,” says Rhonda Kane, a registered dietitian and consumer safety officer at FDA. “It’s a medical necessity for those who have celiac disease.”

“There are no nutritional advantages for a person not sensitive to gluten to be on a gluten-free diet,” she adds. “Those who are not sensitive to gluten have more flexibility and can choose from a greater variety of foods to achieve a balanced diet.”

Gluten-free is not synonymous with low fat, low sugar, or low sodium. For people who must be on a gluten-free diet, Kane says it’s important to check the ingredients list and Nutrition Facts information on food labels to find the most nutritious options.

Tainted Foods

September 15, 2011

In the past five years, consumers have faced widespread outbreaks of foodborne illnesses tied to foods—such as spinach, peanut butter and eggs—that are staples of the American diet.

The Food and Drug Administration is taking steps to prevent or shorten these outbreaks by developing the tools needed to rapidly track down foods that may be contaminated.

Two pilot projects—one for processed foods and the other for produce—will be conducted to explore how FDA and the food industry can quickly trace foods back to the common source of contamination that led to an outbreak of foodborne illnesses. These pilots must include at least three different types of foods that were the subject of significant outbreaks in the five years preceding the January 2011 enactment of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) will carry out the pilots, at FDA’s direction, under an existing contract with the agency. IFT is a Chicago-based nonprofit scientific society focused on food science and technology and has previously worked with FDA on product-tracing studies.

These pilots are mandated by the landmark food safety law that requires FDA to implement a system that is based on science and addresses food safety hazards from farm to table.

“We can prevent illnesses and reduce the economic impact to the food industry if we can more quickly discover what food may be causing an outbreak and what foods can be eliminated from consideration,” says Michael R. Taylor, FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods.

 

Acne in Adult Women

September 10, 2011

For a large number of females it takes place like alarm clock each month: cramps, swift changes in moods, and acne breakouts. Specialists realize that acne in adult women breakouts can be affected by hormonal fluctuations; however study on this topic has been rather minimal – until recently. A recent research stated that acne in adult women usually happens the week that precedes their period.

What is interesting about hormonal acne in adult women is the fact that they cannot be treated by the usual therapy methods. Topical antibiotics and topical retinoids are useless in this case. Some indications that can help your doctor to diagnose hormonally-influenced acne in adult women:

  • Acne breakouts or onsets that for the first time appear in adults
  • Acne flashes connected with menstrual cycle
  • A history of menstruating irregularly
  • Your skin oiliness exceeds the norms;
  • Hirsutism (problems with growing hair)
  • Raised levels of certain androgens in your blood stream

Though hormonal acne in adult women usually starts to disturb women of about 20-25, adolescents and senior women can be susceptible to it. And women over 30 are a risk group. Acne pimples usually appear on face, especially chin and jaw. But sometimes there are traces of acne on the chest or back. Acne pimples are of three types: inflammatory papules, inflammatory nodules and comedones. But where is the reason for it?

According to American Skincare & Cellulite Expert Association:

Usually it starts at the age of 9-10 (at prepubescent years). The adrenal glands begin the dihydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) production, which is one of the androgens. In the beginning of puberty some “male” hormones, such as dehydrotestosterone (DHT) and testosterone, step in to act in a woman body, stimulating excessive secretion of sebum (the natural oil of skin) by the sebaceous glands.

This is also the reason why teenagers suffer from acne so frequently. And the problem is more typical for boys, because their bodies produce more ‘male’ hormones. It is rather difficult to treat teenagers’ acne, because their hormone systems are unbalanced and suffer from constant changes. Very often benzoyl peroxide, topical retinoids (sometimes combined with an oral antibiotic) can have good results. With growth of the body though, there can be serious hormonal changes therefore the medicine may seem to be ineffective at this period. It is essential to adjust the treatment course and introduce safe and natural acne products.

Some women may never see acne on their faces; others may experience it only before menstruation. When menstrual cycle begins, the level of estrogen is at its high with reduction of estrogen at the end of the period. When ovulation passed, the ovaries start progesterone production. It is another hormone which causes the sebaceous glands stimulation. And sebum invites acne in adult women.

Sometimes hormones can also cause acne in pregnant women. At the time of the third trimester sebaceous glands’ active work can provoke unpleasant breakouts. It may sound strange, but sometimes acne in adult women may appear even afther menopause. The reason is that the body produces less estrogen and more testosterone.

But do not expect that this kind of acne in adult women will disappear occasionally. Dermatologist will recommend you a good treatment plan for all cases of acne in adult women.