Gluten-free Diets May Be More Hype Than Help

gluten sensitivity

You may be paying more money to buy gluten-free items for no reason.

Gluten-free diets may not help as many people as is popularly believed, according to a commentary published by Celiac researchers in the Annals of Medicine this week.

Gluten has now become the bogey man of food ingredients, with grocery stores devoting entire sections to gluten-free items and millions of people adopting gluten-free diets.  The majority of people who are quitting gluten these days are people who are considered (but not necessarily diagnosed) gluten sensitive. For people with Celiac disease, there is no question that avoiding gluten is necessary. The researchers believe, however, that more studies are needed to identify other potential causes for gastrointestinal problems people who do not have Celiac disease experience.  It may be that those who have problems with cereal, cookies, crackers and cakes are actually sensitive to something else in those foods.

MedPage Today reports the authors point out that “… other proteins, such as alpha-amylase/trypsin inhibitors or yeast, could play a role.”  The Italian researchers add that, “‘Sense’ should prevail over ‘sensibility’ to prevent a gluten preoccupation from evolving into the conviction that gluten is toxic for most of the population …”

Why worry? One major concern is that people afraid of gluten will stop consuming enough fiber in their diets, which can also lead to health problems.

Are you on a gluten-free diet? If so, do you think it has helped?

Photo credit: MorgueFile/sioda

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