As someone with celiac disease, traveling abroad can be a challenge, particularly when it comes to food. Many gluten-free travelers have heard that they can safely consume French bread and pastry without experiencing any symptoms, but is it true? The answer is not so clear-cut.
One theory suggests that the lower protein content in French wheat flour may make it safer for celiacs to consume gluten. However, the scientific evidence to support this claim is limited. According to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the protein content in French wheat flour is indeed lower than that of American wheat flour, but the difference is not significant enough to make it safe for celiacs to consume.
Another factor to consider is the fermentation process. Traditional methods used by many artisanal bakers in France involve a longer fermentation process that can break down gluten in the flour, making it easier to digest. This may explain why some celiacs have reported being able to tolerate small amounts of French bread and pastry without experiencing symptoms.
However, intentional consumption of gluten, even in small amounts, is not recommended for celiacs. The only treatment for celiac disease is a strict gluten-free diet. Eating gluten can cause harmful symptoms and long-term health complications, such as malabsorption of nutrients, anemia, and even intestinal cancer.
So, while the French bread and pastry enigma remains a mystery, it is important for those with celiac disease to stick to a strict gluten-free diet to avoid harmful symptoms and long-term health complications. As for French crêpes, they are often made with buckwheat flour, which is naturally gluten-free, making them a safe and delicious option for celiacs to enjoy while in France.
Sources and References:
- Biesiekierski, J. R., Muir, J. G., & Gibson, P. R. (2013). Is gluten a cause of gastrointestinal symptoms in people without celiac disease? Current allergy and asthma reports, 13(6), 631-638.
- D'Amico, S., Ficco, D. B. M., Giovannetti, M., & Flagella, Z. (2019). Proteomic and physico-chemical characterization of Italian and French bread wheat cultivars: 1. protein content and composition. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 67(28), 7893-7903.
- Guandalini, S., & Assiri, A. (2014). Celiac disease: a review. Jama, 311(24), 2572-2580.
- Ludvigsson, J. F., Leffler, D. A., Bai, J. C., Biagi, F., Fasano, A., Green, P. H., ... & Sanders, D. S. (2013). The Oslo definitions for coeliac disease and related terms. Gut, 62(1), 43-52.
- The Celiac Disease Foundation. (n.d.). What is celiac disease? Retrieved from https://celiac.org/about-celiac-disease/what-is-celiac-disease/