In genetically susceptible individuals the ingestion of gluten and related proteins triggers an immune-mediated enteropathy known as Coeliac Disease (CD). Recent epidemiological studies have shown that 1 in 100 people worldwide suffer from CD. Such a rate establishes CD as one of the most common food intolerances. Coeliac patients eating wheat or related proteins such as hordeins (barley) or secalins (rye) undergo an immunological response, localized in the small intestine, which destroys mature absorptive epithelial cells on the surface of the small intestine. Currently, the only way that CD can be treated is the total lifelong avoidance of gluten ingestion. Therefore, people that suffer from CD have to follow a very strict diet and avoid any products which contain wheat, rye or barley. Avoidance of these cereals leads to a recovery from the disease and significant improvement of the intestinal mucosa and its absorptive functions. Coeliac patients are not in position to eat some of the most common foods such as bread, pizzas, biscuits or drink beer and whiskey. Due to the unique properties of gluten, it is a big challenge for food scientists to produce good quality gluten free products.
The Science of Gluten-Free Foods and Beverages covers the work presented at the First International Conference on Gluten-Free Cereal Products and Beverages. The area of gluten-free foods and beverages is becoming more and more important, since the number of people suffering from Coeliac Disease as well as people suffering from gluten allergies is rising. In the United Kingdom, 10% of the population claims to be suffering from food allergies. This book will be extensively referenced. It is meant to give an overview of the work being carried out in the area of gluten-free science.