Home » Gluten Sensitivity Does Not Exist in Absence of Celiac Study Confirms

Gluten Sensitivity Does Not Exist in Absence of Celiac Study Confirms



A new study getting media attention this week confirms that gluten sensitivity, also called gluten intolerance, does not exist in the absence of celiac disease. About one percent of people actually have celiac disease. This might be bad news for the manufacturers of all of the gluten-free products currently lining grocery store shelves, but if consumers choose to accept the science, it could end up saving them a bundle at the market. Gluten free products are, on average, much more expensive than regular products, and 99 percent of people do not need them according to the evidence.

This new study supports previous studies showing that people without celiac disease showed no symptoms when fed gluten during a blind taste test. Some may be surprised to find out that the person who authored the new study is the same scientist who had originally published a study that showed some people have a condition called Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. However, Peter Gibson, a gastroenterologist, had never been satisfied that the first study was accurate, so he decided to conduct this new study with better controls. The results confirmed that gluten sensitivity does not exist in the absence of celiac disease.

The patients in the study participated in a blind tasting diet in which they either ate 16, two or zero milligrams of gluten each day. No matter which diet they ate, they all reported feeling worse, including on the diet which contained no gluten at all. This is explained, say scientists, by what is called a “nocebo” effect. Similar to the placebo effect, the nocebo effect happens even in the absence of any active substance. People basically convince themselves that they feel worse and thus, they begin to experience real symptoms, but it’s all in their heads.

Still, because of the power of suggestion, say experts, the gluten free fad may be a hard habit to break, no matter how much science is behind the facts. When people perceive themselves to feel better off of gluten, they mistake their anecdotal experience and nocebo effect for actual science, and almost nothing can convince them that they don’t actually have a sensitivity to gluten.

Besides the 30 percent of consumers who are currently trying to avoid gluten, the manufacturers of gluten free products face losing close to 15 billion dollars that the industry now generates. Market shelves are laden with products labeled gluten free; even products that naturally don’t contain gluten. The current fad reminds some of the low carb fad of ten years ago or so when it was almost impossible to find products that were not labeled “low carb.” That fad ended abruptly when a large study debunked the low carb diet as being more effective than other types of diets. In fact, there is now a mountain of scientific evidence that proves when it comes to dieting, calories in versus calories out is the most important indicator of how much weight a person will lose.

Gluten sensitivity does not exist in the absence of celiac disease, a new study confirms. Now the question is: can the public be convinced to accept the science or will they continue to pay more for gluten free products they don’t need?

By: Rebecca Savastio


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