The Good News on Gluten

As reported recently by National Public Radio’s website, research is increasingly showing that maybe there is no such thing as non-celiac gluten sensitivity. The Australian scientist whose initial research indicated that gluten was a factor in non-celiac digestive disorders has, after further research, changed his mind.

The science is now indicating that gluten protein is not the culprit but, rather, it is a different substance, called FODMAPs, that causes the problem. FODMAPs stands for fermentable oligo-di-monosaccharides and polypols – a type of carbohydrate that is found in wheat and other foods.

FODMAPs can be found in fructose (in fruit), lactose (in dairy products), and galactans (found in some legumes). While most people can readily digest FODMAPs, for people with chronic intestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), these chemicals are not properly digested in their small intestine but, rather, are fermented by their gut’s bacteria to produce gas, with all of its unpleasant results. The researchers developed a low-FODMAP diet that, in trials, showed that 70% of people who suffered from IBS but who went on the diet saw an improvement in their symptoms; the diet is as effective as the available drugs for IBS.

Researchers, however, warned that while non-celiac gluten sensitivity does exist, it is not very common. Despite the still open discussion in the research community, the gluten-free food market is expanding exponentially; sales of gluten-free foods topped $10.5billion in 2013 and are projected to reach $15 billion within three years.

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