Miracle grains

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What if you could eat what you like and not get fat?

It sounds almost too good to be true but that's exactly what they are working on right under our noses at the Foodplus Research centre on the Waite campus here in Adelaide and every day it's getting closer to becoming a reality.

Using their loaf, Dr John Carragher and Professor Robert Gibson raided world seed banks, withdrew some very special grains and brought them back to Adelaide to do a little breeding.

"There's no GMO grain grown. This is all done, developed by standard wheat breeding techniques," says Professor Gibson.

The result is four Aussie super grains.

"Fr Durum, high lutein wheat, high amylose wheat, and we've got high amylose barley as well," says Dr Carragher.

Don't worry about the highfalutin names, all you need to know is these little babies will help you and your family stay slim and much healthier.

"It can act as a replacement for the fats that we put into pastry for example," explains Professor Gibson.

Take the iconic Aussie meat pie. Never mind the filling, the pastry is full of fat. One of these grains fr durum, fr standing for fat reduced, mixed with normal flour, will give you fat free pie pastry.

"When you mix it with ordinary wheat flour you can develop a flour which has amazing properties. Many of us like to eat croissants and pies and pasties and they are lovely things but they are loaded with fat but if we can reduce the amount of fat then we can enjoy those foods without having to worry," says Professor Gibson.

Looking at the fr durum grain itself, you cannot tell any difference between that and normal durum wheat.

To make bread soft and give it the right texture, bakers add fat but according to Dr Colin Jenner, Fr durum will not only give us softer bread but it will be longer lasting.

"In bread it reduces the rate of staling… it does taste like normal bread… it should be softer than normal bread and it doesn't have any fat in it," says Dr Jenner.

There's other benefits to these grains as well.

Usually we get our omega 3 eating fish, but the grains brains trust at Waite have discovered that by mixing some of their super grains with flax seed and feeding it to the chooks they can get the chickens enriched in omega 3 without any fishy flavours.

"It's much healthier ...its almost as healthy as eating a piece of fish, (and) we decrease the chances of coronary heart disease, arthritis and diabetes," says Professor Gibson.

The Waite wise people are also using their noodle with their super high lute wheat

"…We looked again at this yellow wheat and found out that the yellow colour was due to an anti- oxidant that's very good for our health, that helps to prevent macular degeneration of the eye," says Professor Gibson.

So instead of artificially coloured noodles, why not use this yellow wheat to make noodles to export to Asian countries where it's consumed by billions and it's a regular part of diets in South East Asia where they've just opened the worlds' largest noodle factory in India.

Not surprisingly some of the biggest food companies in the world are beating a path to Adelaide.

"Oh it will be huge benefits back in terms of not just the royalties of selling the grain but also it will attract expertise here from around the world who want to work with Waite people who can demonstrate these benefits in terms of commercialisation success," says Dr Carragher.

And when will we see the result on our supermarket shelves?

Dr Carragher would love to be able to see the first of the grains in products within two years.

It all goes well for a bright future in fighting obesity here at home and supplying the world with much healthier food.

"Absolutely there's a bright future because they are cheap they are renewable, sustainable and it's something that Australians are very, very good at," says Professor Gibson.

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