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Is It Gluten-Free? An A-Z of Things Gluten-Free.

Is It Gluten-Free? An A-Z of Things Gluten-Free

Hofflin C. Cats Kitchen Press, Lara, Victoria, 2006, 122 pages, $24.95, ISBN 0958057222

This is a unique book that not only contains recipes for those requiring a gluten-free diet, but also endeavours to explain food and medical terms to which people with newly diagnosed coeliac disease will be exposed.

The author, Carole Hofflin, has followed a strict gluten-free diet for many years. She is a Registered Nurse and a gluten-free cookery teacher with the Gordon TAFE. This is the third gluten-free recipe book that she has published.

This book is designed to provide practical advice on gluten-free terminology and recipes for individuals, families and friends of those who have either coeliac disease or non-coeliac gluten intolerance. For example, she expresses non-coeliac gluten intolerance as 'a term currently used to describe individuals who have tested negative to coeliac disease but who nevertheless experience mild to distressing symptoms after the ingestion of gluten-containing foods ...'

The book's emphasis is not the recipes themselves, but rather the definitions and explanations of the terminologies to which people will be exposed when they now enter the world of gluten-free foods. The book has been written with the terms of interest ordered alphabetically for ease of reference. The writing style of the book is easy to read and understand and it presents as an A5 sized, soft covered book. Scattered throughout the book are useful recipes. The recipes are not alphabetised, they appear where certain terms/ingredients being discussed have triggered an example for their use. The recipes are listed separately on the Index page.

The book opens with a short paragraph description of the medical term 'absorption' and concludes with a description of the enzyme 'zymase'. There are more than 300 food and medical terms described in between. Where appropriate the author indicates if the ingredient is gluten-free, usually gluten-free, usually not gluten-free or not gluten-free. Some other terms described include anticaking agents, biopsy, dinkel, endomysial gliadin, gene testing, glutinous rice, Job's Tears, kawmut, maltodextrin, prolamine fraction, ragi, textured vegetable protein, vinegar, wheat grass juice and yeast.

There are, however, some explanations that may cause some puzzlement. A list of references for the majority of the information is not provided, but some organisations are mentioned for their input. Hofflin's definition describes 1 kilojoule as equalling 239.005 calories. This is confusing as she is referring to the chemical calorie term and not the nutrition calorie. There are two common but different meanings for the term calorie. One is used in the food and nutrition industry, while the other was formerly widely used in chemistry. It is generally accepted today that a food calorie represents 1000 chemistry calories. Although technically this should be termed a kilocalorie, the word 'calorie with a capital C' is now commonly used in nutrition for this measurement. In nutrition it is taught that 1 calorie equals 4.2 kilojoules.

In the description of the ELIZA Test to determine if a food is gluten-free, Hofflin states that 0.003-0.005 g gluten per 100 g of the food is equivalent to 3-5 parts per million (p.p.m.) of gluten. The detectability of gluten is improving as the years go by because better tests are developed. The current detectability is less than 5 p.p.m., as stated, but this equates to 0.0005 g gluten per 100 g of the food.

Hofflin describes MSG as being produced from naturally occurring sugars; however, MSG is refined from the glutamate after hydrolysis of the protein. The resulting glutamic acid is converted to its monosodium salt (MSG).

There are a few other explanations that may be slightly questionable, but they do not detract from the overall usefulness of the book as a good educator for the general public for terms used in the area of gluten-free food production.

The book can be recommended to dietitians who are not immersed in this area of dietetics. The short descriptions are relevant and useful, but in some cases over-simplified. The indications of whether or not the product is gluten-free will make it a good reference book to have on hand.

Kim Faulkner-Hogg, PhD, APD

Dietitian, RPAH Allergy Unit

Camperdown, New South Wales, Australia
COPYRIGHT 2007 Dietitians Association of Australia
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Faulkner-Hogg, Kim
Publication:Nutrition & Dietetics: The Journal of the Dietitians Association of Australia
Date:Jun 1, 2007
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