The newest diet fad is gluten-free. Over 30% of Americans are actively trying to eat less gluten. If you're in this group, you may want to take note of a recent study that challenges conventional wisdom about gluten. Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat and rye. In 2011, Peter Gibson, a professor of gastroenterology in Melbourne, Australia, published a study showing that gluten caused gastrointestinal distress in patients without celiac disease. This was called "non-celiac gluten sensitivity".
However, Gibson was not satisfied with the reliability of his experiment. He recently released the results of a follow-up study, and they are surprising to say the least.
The Original Study
Gibson's original 2011 study was conducted on a very small group of people. His results showed that gluten, a common protein found in most of our diets, triggered gastrointestinal distress. But Gibson was not satisfied with his study for several reasons. First, his sample was too small to be very certain of the results. Second, his study found nothing about the mechanisms by which gluten caused this distress. And finally, he was skeptical that a protein that humans have eaten for thousands of years would suddenly be shown to cause a host of health problems.
The New Study
So Gibson set out to find the answer. He set up a much more sophisticated study with more subjects, controlling for every aspect of the subjects' diets, and meticulously studying their responses to different foods. His results are sure to raise hell. A billion dollar industry has grown out of the idea of "gluten intolerance". But Gibson - whose work first led to the gluten-free obsession - now says, "we could find absolutely no specific response to gluten."
Of course, these results are always tentative, but the recent work suggests that people do not need to worry so much about gluten and should stop self-diagnosing themselves with "gluten intolerance". Instead, focus on the dietary habits that we are certain of: eating more fruits and vegetables, leaner protein sources, whole grains, and nuts and oils as fat sources.
CATEGORIES: Alternative Health, Gluten-Free , Healthy Foods