Getting to the guts of gluten intolerance
We all have that one friend who’s “off gluten” citing gut troubles, but he or she might be giving up the bread for nothing. In fact, recent studies have found the majority of people who have a gripe with gluten and believe they have an intolerance to the wheat-based protein could just be suffering from a momentary - and absolutely normal - feeling of fullness.
Based on research conducted in the UK, just one-third of the 35 volunteers who feared they suffered from non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) actually suffered symptoms connected to an intolerance. This is surprising, given that more and more people are following a gluten-free diet these days. The lesson? Self-diagnosis is not always correct.
And to complicate the issue even further, while coeliac disease is diagnosed via blood test, there is no diagnostic test for NCGS. All the more reason for the medical industry’s skepticism as to whether the condition is actually legitimate.
Last year, US talk show host Jimmy Kimmel fuelled the debate by saying, “Some people can’t eat gluten for medical reasons, which that I get. It annoys me but I get it. But a lot of people don’t eat gluten because somebody in their yoga class told them not to.” Controversial, much?!
So why is gluten blamed for so many gut-related issues? It’s because wheat, rye and barley (cereals that contain gluten), all contain high amounts of FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols), which are short chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. And with the media and celebrities pushing gluten-free lifestyles, it’s little wonder society sees gluten as such a villain.
In truth: there’s no real need for the majority of us to ditch the gluten. Don’t confuse that bloated feeling of being full with an illness. If you’re concerned about your health, consult your local GP before making any radical changes to your diet that could affect your health.
Do you suffer from bloating, IBS or gluten-related symptoms? Do you avoid eating gluten-based food?