People with celiac disease
struggle with limited food choices, as their condition makes them unable to tolerate gluten, found in wheat and other grains. Researchers from the University of Brazil have developed a gluten-free pasta product from green banana flour, which tasters found more acceptable than regular whole wheat pasta. The product has less fat and is cheaper to produce than standard pastas. Their research is published today in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
"There was no significant difference between the modified pasta and standard samples in terms of appearance, aroma, flavor, and overall quality," reports lead investigator Renata Puppin Zandonadi, PhD, Department of Nutrition, University of Brazil. "Green bananas are considered a sub-product of low commercial value with little industrial use. For banana growers and pasta product makers, there is the possibility of diversifying and expanding their market."
Researchers compared a standard whole-wheat pasta preparation made from whole wheat flour and whole eggs with one made from green banana flour, egg whites, water, and gums. The alterations reduced the fat content and increased the protein value of the modified pasta, important because gluten removal typically reduces some proteins responsible for some sensory characteristics of pasta products. The egg whites and gum result in pasta that is less sticky than typical gluten-free pastas, and promote firmness, elasticity, moisture, and uniformity.
The modified pasta decreased fat content by over 98%. This reduction is particularly important to patients with celiac disease, because many gluten-free products compensate for the removal of gluten with high levels of lipid content.