Farro, Spelt, and Freekel
Sources of Gluten to be Avoided

~ May 2014 No.256 ~

Food manufacturers are always looking for "something new" to add to their product. Ingredients such as wheat that we would normally recognize now appear in different forms with different names. It can be confusing. For celiac sufferers it can be dangerous.

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People suffering from celiac disease need to eliminate gluten from their diet. In celiacs, gluten irritates the small intestine causing an inflammatory reaction where the long thin villi cells lining the small intestine are attacked, damaged and shortened. Since the villi are the sites of absorption of food as it passes down the gastrointestinal tract, celiac sufferers develop nutrient absorption / deficiency problems. Common symptoms of celiac disease are discomfort in the digestive tract, chronic constipation and diarrhoea, failure to thrive, anaemia and fatigue.

Farro is a term that is used to describe whole grains from several different types of wheat, including spelt and more ancient forms of the grain such as Einkorn and emmer (Triticum turgidum dicoccum). In Italy, it is referred to as faro or grano faro or faro medio. Faro is eaten plain, added to salads and soups, or it can be ground into flour and used to make pasta or bread. Faro is a wheat and therefore it contains the gluten protein, which is found in wheat, barley and rye.

Spelt is similar to wheat in appearance pelt but it has a tougher husk. The official name of is Triticum aestivum var. spelta. Spelt is thus a member of the same grain family as wheat, but is an entirely different species. It was originally grown in Iran around 5000 to 6000 B.C. Spelt has been grown in Europe for over 300 years. It traditionally has been used as a feed grain for animals. Spelt flour bakes well into bread. It results in a very light, soft textured nutty flavoured loaf, doesn't shed crumbs when sliced, and has good keeping qualities. Spelt has more protein than soft and spring wheat. Spelt contains gluten, so it's not suitable for a gluten-free diet.

Freekeh, also called frik or farik, is made from green wheat kernels that are toasted and then cracked. Freekeh is very high in total fiber - double the fiber in quinoa, and over three times the amount in brown rice. Most of the fiber in freekeh is insoluble fiber. Freekeh is not gluten free even though the wheat is toasted.

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Last modified

August 04 2015