FITCHITS

Gluten not the culprit 

  • Published 15.11.17
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Gluten not the culprit 

Blame it on fructan molecules in wheat, not gluten, for causing stomach problems after eating wheat-based foods like bread and pasta. Fructans are a type of sugar chain that are difficult to digest. About one in 10 people have coeliac disease, an autoimmune disorder that makes them react badly to gluten proteins in wheat. But a further 12 per cent falls ill after eating wheat-based foods, despite not having coeliac disorder. So long people thought that these people suffer from a typical “gluten sensitivity”. But to separate wheat from the chaff, researchers fed 59 non-coeliacs with diets free from gluten but loaded with fructan — found in wheat, barley, rye, onions, garlic, chickpeas, cabbage, and artichokes. The candidates had bloating and other symptoms usually found in gluten allergy. The study was published recently in the journal Gastroenterology. 

Power of smell

A poor sense of smell may indicate a higher risk for dementia, a study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society has found. Of all the factors the researchers measured — age, sex, race, ethnicity, education, other diseases — only cognitive ability at the start of the study and poorer performance on the “smell test” were associated with an increased risk for dementia. Compared with those with no olfactory impairment, those with smelling difficulties had more than twice the likelihood of developing dementia. Even among those who initially tested within the normal range for mental ability, a poor sense of smell doubled the risk for dementia five years later.

 

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