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Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity May Not Exist

Stashed in: #health, Science!, Awesome, Nutrition!, Science Too, Nutrition, Oasis, Microbiome, Microbiome, Gluten

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The guy whose research kicked off the gluten-sensitivity craze in the first place has now gone back and done even more strictly-designed research -- and his conclusion is that people do show food sensitivity, but it's probably not to gluten per-se. Also there is a high level of problematic self-reporting in this area. Maybe just give up bread and call it a day?

The great thing about science is that it's self-correcting.

But geez, there's no such thing as gluten sensitivity for people who do not have celiac?! 

Why hasn't this result been shouted from the rooftops??

good. i disliked that trend. =p


Unfortunately the trend will continue until more people realize that only the 1% of us who have celiac disease are actually sensitive to gluten.

It seems like the culprit is messed up microbiomes, NOT gluten.

Analyzing the data, Gibson found that each treatment diet, whether it included gluten or not, prompted subjects to report a worsening of gastrointestinal symptoms to similar degrees. Reported pain, bloating, nausea, and gas all increased over the baseline low-FODMAP diet. Even in the second experiment, when the placebo diet was identical to the baseline diet, subjects reported a worsening of symptoms! The data clearly indicated that a noceboeffect, the same reaction that prompts some people to get sick from wind turbines and wireless internet, was at work here. Patients reported gastrointestinal distress without any apparent physical cause. Gluten wasn't the culprit; the cause was likely psychological. Participants expected the diets to make them sick, and so they did. The finding led Gibson to the opposite conclusion of his 2011 research:

“In contrast to our first study… we could find absolutely no specific response to gluten."

It's possible that the true culprit is pest-resistent wheat:

"So even if someone does not have an adverse reaction to gluten, it's still possible their body is reacting badly to something in wheat, even if we're not 100% sure what it is yet."

And yet the market for gluten-free things has grown immensely since his first study.

By extension, [his previous, now shown to be incorrect] study also lent credibility to the meteoric rise of the gluten-free diet. Surveys now show that 30% of Americans would like to eat less gluten, and sales of gluten-free products are estimated to hit $15 billion by 2016 -- that's a 50% jump over 2013's numbers!

The Business Insider article about this result, published May 2014, has now been read 4 million times.

In one of the best examples of science working, a researcher who provided key evidence of (non-celiac disease) gluten sensitivity recently published follow-up papers that show the opposite.


Although experts estimate that only 1% of Americans — about 3 million people — suffer from celiac disease, 18% of adults now buy gluten-free foods.


PandaWhale comments:

The combination of a deteriorated microbiome in the gut thanks to modern eating, as well as increased gluten breeds plus the glyphosate in herbicides used even on non-GMO crops, causes more issues than just celiac. Very likely these also cause a deterioration in the auto-immune system, inflammation too. So it's not it's not just the 1% of celiac sufferers, it's potentially more fundamental to all of us.

Srini, well said. It's hard to know which foods and herbicides deteriorate the microbiome but I do think they both have a role in creating what people misinterpret as gluten sensitivity. 

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