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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13 Responses to "Gluten Sensitivity Does Not Exist in Absence of Celiac Study Confirms"

  1. Brian   July 29, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    I’m hoping that the study is true, so I can continue eating gluten. Perhaps I need to look closer at the study. I’d be interested in the number of subjects, and how the doctor followed up. I’ve noticed some people say they feel sick with an hour of eating it while for me it’s probably the next day. I get the sense this would be very hard to measure.

  2. Khloris   December 23, 2014 at 10:38 am

    no source, no credibility!

  3. sharon anne   July 21, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    I’ve suffered from 20 years of chronic pain, diagnosed as Fibromyaglia, and then became disabled with Rheumatoid Arthirtis. I’ve developed severe neurological Migraines, which produced stroke-like symtoms and paralysis from Ataxia. I was put on so much medicine, you would NOT believe me if I even stated the costs! I was tested for Celiac Disease, because everything I experienced suggested CD. Negative. Six years later and still suffering Gluten Ataxia (Google it), a nurse friend threatened it’ll become permanent, if I didn’t go gluten-free. NO, I was in denial – the opposite of what this ARTICAL and study suggests – because I loved pasta, pizza and bread! That was my life-style! I even had a “bread blog!” Yet, I couldn’t go on living with episodes of not being able to “walk and/or talk” normally for the rest of my LIFE too! So I researched it and went a DEDICATED gluten-free and have been now for 2 1/2 years. It is a huge sacrafice, however I’ve gone from a size 14 down to a size 4. I nearly feel 20 years younger. Though it’s not always easy, I can truly say I no longer have Fibromyalgia pain – after suffering for 20 years! I rarely have Migraines now, after suffering those 6 unimaginable years! I still deal with irreversable nerve damage from the Ataxia and I will always have Rheumatoid Arthritis, but I am able to take 50% less of my RA meds and doing much better on and off. I am proud to say I am off all the narcotics, which I needed for pain for decades! So it’s TRUE… if I ever eat gluten or am exposed by cross contamination – within 30 minutes – BAM – my unwelcome Fibromyaglia pain returns… AND I can become disabled with a Migraine and/ or Ataxia symtoms for roughly 3 days. FUN!

  4. Maddy   June 13, 2014 at 12:56 am

    For the earlier commenter trying to debunk the results of the study by deriding this article: if you need the actual scientific data, methods, etc., then I suggest you seek those items in the scientific journals in which they were published. Remember also that a true academic /research journal only publishes after a thorough and standard peer review process. Yes, there are some pseudoscientific journals, also – be sure to check all sources.
    In other words, don’t rely solely on one info-tainment style NEWS source to always provide an even-handed view of any subject.

  5. N   May 20, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    I agree with Z. What was being monitored and recorded in the study? There are no actual facts in this article regarding data from the study. It does not give any specifics about who was tested, what they were testing for, how they tested it, or what could be lacking in the study. What type of food were they giving participants who were not eating gluten? Perhaps it was some other form of processed carbohydrate that they did not feel good after eating. Did the study look for signs of ADD, mental clarity, joint pain, anxiety, depression, or any number of the other symptoms that can be a result of gluten sensitivity? According to tons of thorough, objective, research (look at Grain Brain, where David Perlmutter sites countless studies and research about gluten sensitivity), gluten affects people in many different ways, and does not always affect the gut.
    This is a very poorly researched article. Do your homework before publishing.

  6. Celiac   May 19, 2014 at 4:58 am

    I actually do have celiac disease, and the New Age woo encouraging people to go gluten free has benefitted me immensely by increasing the availability of GF food. So, while I have no doubt of the accuracy of this study, I suggest we don’t talk about it too much. Thanks!

  7. Robert Patrick   May 18, 2014 at 9:57 am

    As I aged I have become sensitive to several foods. After receiving little help from several doctors, I now have several books on the subject. My celiac disease test was negative, yet I feel poorly if I eat two slices of bread. A couple of authors have noted that the discomfort from eating some foods is related to both sensitivity and quantity. Even if you are sensitive, you must ingest more than your system can process before you have trouble. Further, the amount your system can handle at any moment depends on how much you have stressed it in the last 48 hours. Lastly, one author notes that a food sensitivity rarely occurs alone.

  8. Kevin   May 18, 2014 at 8:26 am

    and again to quote the article…

    “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.”

  9. traci   May 17, 2014 at 6:39 am

    tell my hives that … i sure would like to eat the foods i love the most but im here to tell you the truth threw test on my own body.. when i remove the gluten from my diet there are no hives or diarrhea.. i have been testing this with my own diet for about a year now and at no prevail the side effects come back, and i do not have celiacs disease.

  10. Francesco   May 16, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    I wish I could believe this “study” but is it just coincidence that my daily panic attacks ended abruptly after going gluten free for 2 weeks?

  11. Z   May 16, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    This article sounds like sensational hype with the lack of data and information. How large was the study? Who funded the study? Why would a gastroenterologist be the only doctor running the study, seems like a rheumatologist should have been consulted as well.

  12. Cal   May 16, 2014 at 7:06 am

    Or many more may have underlying celiac disease as testing is not always accurate especially if that person is already eating gluten free , better testing for all gluten related illness would be a better way forwards .


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