NDSU Extension - Williams County


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Gluten Diets Good For Most - Recommendation for Tree Planting

Published February 15, 2015

Gluten Diets Good For Most

The 62nd National Hard Spring Wheat Show is now part of history.  By all accounts it was a success.  The Bread Fair for area 5th grade students brought record numbers despite some pre-registered schools unable to attend.  The photo contest had many beautiful pictures and the line-up of speakers gave us great information which addressed issues affecting crop producers.

For some, one of the most educational topics addressed was wheat gluten.  Recently there has been much media which emphasized the need for gluten free diets.  Gluten is a major plant protein providing structure for baked products requiring volume.  Bread is one of those products.  Gluten is present in wheat, barley and rye.  It is a factor that wheat breeders use to select new varieties.  They develop varieties for high gluten content, in addition to yield, and a few other factors.  However, there is a downside to gluten.  Some fractions may trigger an auto-immune reaction in individuals who carry a gene for celiac disease.  These people must eliminate gluten containing grains from their diet.  However, the number of people affected by gluten appears rather small.

There are a multitude of possible symptoms.  To determine if one has celiac disease, first a blood test is needed to determine if specific antibodies are present.  If so, then an intestinal biopsy is essential to confirm the blood test.

Julie Garden-Robinson, NDSU Extension Human Scientist, presented the information about gluten intolerance.  She told us that less than 1% of the U.S. population is affected by celiac disease.

New researches estimated from 1-6% of Americans are sensitive to gluten, but do not have the offending gene needed to develop celiac disease or damage the intestinal tract.  Many with this non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) have not been diagnosed.  Many professionals believe some who have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) actually have NCGS.  This many account for the relief they may get for eliminating gluten in their diet.

Julie presented a lot of numbers regarding sensitivity to gluten.  The one I noted, is at the very least 53% of the population (probably more), can include gluten-containing foods in their diet.  For the vast majority, going gluten-free is unnecessary and expensive.  Gluten-free foods, on average, cost about 242% more than their regular gluten-containing counterparts. Research has shown that gluten is actually helpful for healthy gut bacteria in individuals who can tolerate it.

Another interesting statistic in Julie’s presentation was that 82% of Americans who eat gluten-free products have not been diagnosed with celiac disease.

The bottom line on this subject is there is no scientific reason to eliminate gluten from the diet, other than for those with intestinal biopsy confirming celiac disease or severe NCGS.

For more information on gluten in diets ask for Mary Froelich in the Williams County Extension Office, 701-577-4595.  She has a publication which gives more information and can guide you to other sources.

Recommendation for Tree Planting

As I was thinking about trees for this week’s column, it dawned on me that planting is extremely important to a successful establishment.  First, there is a tendency to place them too deep.  This will lead to rotting of the trunks.

It is recommended to have the top of the root ball about ½ to 1 inch above the surrounding soil surface, making sure not to cover it unless the roots are exposed.

Also, the hole should be twice as wide as the root ball and slightly shallower than the root ball.  The top of the root ball begins where the roots start to emerge from the trunk.

There are other do’s and don’ts.  To review these I suggest a NDSU Extension Service publication H531.  It can be obtained at this office or going to www.ag.ndsu.edu/extension/publications.  Then search for the link to lawns, gardens and trees.

-Warren Froelich

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