Happy wheat starch isn’t used in more gluten-free foods? You may have Ener-G Foods & Elaine Hartsook to thank
In Honor of Celiac Disease Awareness Month, Gluten Free Watchdog is writing a series of articles (the goal is one per day during the month of May) related to the gluten-free diet–currently the ONLY treatment for celiac disease.
Adapted from The Gluten Free Nutrition Guide by Tricia Thompson (McGraw-Hill)
In some parts of the world, wheat starch has been allowed in gluten-free foods since the time of Dicke’s classic feeding trials, but historically it has not been used all that much in gluten-free products in the U.S. Instead, U.S. gluten-free products tend to be based on grains that are “naturally” gluten-free such as rice, corn, buckwheat, millet, etc. One food company in particular may have been responsible for this. In 1978, Ener-G Foods (originally a manufacturer of low-protein foods for people with kidney disease) brought one of the first—if not the first—gluten-free breads to the U.S market after being approached by Elaine Hartsook, dietitian and founder of the Gluten Intolerance Group. According to the Ener-G Foods website, Hartsook asked the company to make gluten-free bread for her patients with celiac disease but was adamant that it not contain any wheat starch. Ener-G Foods complied and thereby helped set the standard for gluten-free foods in the United States.
For more information see https://www.ener-g.com/skin/frontend/cp/default/images/media/pdf/EnerGHistory.pdf
Tomorrow’s post: Oats and the gluten-free diet: Something for everyone!