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Gluten Intolerance Misdiagnosed

Time for some myth busting!

Here is an interesting factoid: The vast majority (approx. 92%) of people who claim they are intolerant to gluten are actually misdiagnosed. And always by people who were self-diagnosing.

For years many people - including scientists - thought that gluten was causing gastrointestinal distress to people who were intolerant of it, including people with celiac disease and people who don't have celiac disease.

But it did seem suspicious that there were so many people who did not have celiac disease who were claiming that gluten was giving them gastrointestinal distress

In reality gluten is a fairly harmless little protein.

Along came Peter Gibson, a gastroenterologist, who thought the number of gluten intolerant people was suspicious and decided to do a lengthy study, which he has published. The study is called "No effects of gluten in patients with self-reported non-celiac gluten sensitivity after dietary reduction of fermentable, poorly absorbed, short-chain carbohydrates."

In other words, people who claimed they were gluten intolerant and did not have celiac disease, had been misdiagnosing themselves and the gluten was having no effect on them whatsoever.

During his study only 8% of participants exhibited gluten-specific effects on their health. The other 92% of "gluten intolerant people" were completely unaffected by gluten.

Upon further investigation it was discovered that the 8% of participants who were effected ultimately had celiac disease and didn't know that they had it.

Now you might think, oh well, it is just one study. Maybe it wasn't that meticulous... Well as it turns out the study was so meticulous that Gibson collected the poop (all of it, not just samples) of all of his test subjects during the study. Each participant was fed a carefully designed diet for days so that the only food going in was carefully measured and controlled for the amount of gluten and FODMAPs* in the food. It was one of the most meticulous studies you will ever see.

So here is the real issue... If you think you are intolerant to gluten, have yourself tested!

Chances are likely you are in the 92% who thinks they are intolerant to gluten, but more likely have a food allergy to something other than gluten.

Celiac disease is a serious disease and you need to be tested to see if you have it. Don't just stop eating gluten because it is the latest diet fad and you think you "might be sensitive to gluten".

* For note taking purposes you might also wonder what are "fermentable, poorly absorbed, short-chain carbohydrates"... Well, they are Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols”, better known as FODMAPs. They’re short-chain molecules you find in pretty much everything food wise. And their connection to gastrointestinal distress is pretty well established in medical science, being that they wreak ungodly fecal hell on those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.

In other words, the people who are misdiagnosing themselves just have irritable bowel syndrome. Which is pretty common apparently, and many people don't know they have it.

So really 92% of the time it is people with irritable bowel syndrome who are intolerant to FODMAPs who are claiming they are intolerant to gluten. The next time you meet someone with gluten intolerance, ask them if they got tested for celiac disease. If they don't have it, then they probably just have IBS and have been self-diagnosing themselves.

So there you go, myth busted.

If you think you have celiac disease, go to a doctor and get tested because it is a serious illness. Otherwise stop making such a fuss and pretending to have something you do not.

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