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Green Banana Flour Pasta Could Be Alternative For Gluten-Free Eaters

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Attention gluten-free eaters: University of Brazil researchers may have developed a new option to add to current offerings of gluten-free pasta -- one made out of green banana flour.

Published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, researchers found a way to make pasta out of green banana flour -- which is gluten-free because it does not contain gluten from wheat -- and it passed taste tests compared with whole-wheat pasta.

"There was no significant difference between the modified pasta and standard samples in terms of appearance, aroma, flavor, and overall quality," study researcher Renata Puppin Zandonadi, PhD, of the University of Brazil, said in a statement. "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."

Celiac disease is a condition where the body's immune system reacts to consumption of gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley, and maybe oats, according to the A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. This reaction causes damage to the small intestine's lining, thereby affecting absorption of nutrients. People who have celiac disease must avoid eating gluten in order to alleviate symptoms.

For the study, researchers had study participants (50 of them without celiac disease, and 25 with celiac disease) compare whole wheat pasta made with eggs, with pasta made from green banana flour, egg whites, gums and water.

Both the testers with celiac disease and without celiac disease said that the banana flour pasta was overall better than the whole wheat pasta.

"The possibility of developing gluten-free products with green banana flour can expand the product supply for people with celiac disease and contribute to a more diverse diet," researchers wrote in the study.

Currently, pasta options for gluten-free eaters include that made of quinoa, corn, soybeans and potatoes, according to the Whole Foods Pasta Guide.

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