Field Notes

Gluten-, Lactose-Free Ingredient Substitute Found
for Low-Fat White Sauces

Consumers are increasingly demanding the development of ready-to-eat gluten- and lactose-free food products that meet their needs and help improve their health. A recent study in the Journal of Food Science shows how new white sauce formulations are being created to meet these demands.

Consumers with celiac disease often find that gluten-free products are of inferior quality compared with their traditional, non–gluten-free counterparts. Traditional white sauce is made with milk, flour or starch, oil, and salt. The study looks at how the use of vegetable protein sources and gluten-free starches can make a type of sauce suitable for vegetarian, lactose-intolerant, and celiac disease consumers.

The researcher replaced milk with soy protein, which improves the structure of the sauce as well as makes it consumable for lactose-intolerant consumers and, at the same time, lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and breast cancer. Traditional flour was replaced with gluten-free waxy starches such as corn and rice that each improves the structure of the sauce with minimal effects on color and taste. Inulin, a functional ingredient that’s known for reducing the risk of gastrointestinal and cardiovascular diseases, was used to replace the oil.

The results have shown that these sauces have a high degree of stability under refrigeration storage and good consumer acceptability.

— Source: Institute of Food Technologists


Moderate Alcohol Consumption May Increase Atrial
Fibrillation Risk

Moderate alcohol consumption increases the risk of atrial fibrillation in older people with heart disease or advanced diabetes, according to a study by McMaster University researchers published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

“Moderate alcohol intake, with or without episodic binge drinking, is associated with an increased incidence of atrial fibrillation in older and high-risk cardiovascular disease or diabetes patients,” says Koon Teo, PhD, a study author and professor of medicine at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University. “Among moderate drinkers, the effect of binge drinking on atrial fibrillation risk is similar to that of habitual heavy drinking.”

The findings come from a large study involving more than 30,000 individuals aged 55 and older from 40 countries who had a history of cardiovascular disease or advanced diabetes with organ damage. Data came from the clinical trials that followed participants for 4 1/2 years.

Moderate alcohol consumption was measured as one to 14 drinks per week for women and one to 21 drinks per week for men. Binge drinking was classified as five or more drinks daily.

The incidence rate of atrial fibrillation rose to 6.3% in the low-intake group, 7.8% in the moderate-intake group, and 8.3% in the high-intake group. The increase in atrial fibrillation cases linked to higher alcohol consumption was found in each age group.

The report said that since moderate drinking is common for more than one-third of the population, these findings suggest the effect of increased alcohol consumption, even in moderate amounts, on atrial fibrillation risk in patients with preexisting cardiovascular disease may be considerable.

Limited data from other studies indicate that binge drinking in healthy people may increase the risk of atrial fibrillation, although moderate drinking in healthy individuals doesn’t appear to be linked to increased risk.

“Recommendations made about the protective effects of moderate alcohol intake in patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease may need to be tempered with these findings,” the report said.

— Source: McMaster University