Pasta goes bananas: Green banana flour offers gluten-free pasta solutions

By Nathan Gray contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Wheat

Flour milled from green bananas could help solve the riddle of how to create cheap yet tasty gluten-free pasta, say researchers.

Writing in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics​, a team of Brazilian researchers reveal that a newly developed gluten-free pasta product – made from green banana flour – may offer a low cost, low fat solution for people who follow a gluten-free diet.

Led by Dr Renata Puppin Zandonadi from the University of Brazil, the team revealed that tasters found the new green banana pasta more acceptable than regular whole wheat pasta.

"There was no significant difference between the modified pasta and standard samples in terms of appearance, aroma, flavor, and overall quality,"​ said Zandonadi.

The lead researcher explained that green bananas are usually considered to be 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,”​ he said.

Study details

Zandonadi and his colleagues compared a standard whole-wheat pasta preparation made from whole wheat flour and whole eggs with one made from green banana flour, egg whites, water, and gums.

They revealed that the green banana product had reduced the fat content and increased the protein value when compared to the whole-wheat pasta. The modified pasta decreased fat content by over 98%.

Zandonadi said the large reduction in fat is particularly important to patients with celiac disease, because many gluten-free products compensate for the removal of gluten with high levels of lipid content.

The team used 50 taste-testers who did not have celiac disease and 25 celiac disease patients to compare the pastas.

In both groups, the modified pasta was better accepted than the standard in aroma, flavor, texture, and overall quality, indicating that the product can possibly be commercialized to a wider market than just those with celiac disease, said the researchers.

"Developing gluten-free products with bioactive compounds such as the ones present in green banana flour is important for celiac disease patients,"​ concluded Zandonadi.

"Patients will benefit from ingesting a product with a better nutritional profile made from an ingredient that is produced and consumed throughout the world."

Source: Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Volume 112, Issue 7​, July 2012, Pages 1068–1072, doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2012.04.002
“Green Banana Pasta: An Alternative for Gluten-Free Diets
Authors: R.P. Zandonadi, R.B.A. Botelho, L. Gandolfi, J.S. Ginani, F.M. Montenegro, R. Pratesi

Related topics: Sweeteners (intense, bulk, polyols)

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