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What’s Happening: Gluten Trouble?

Wheat caution

Is gluten intolerance officially a myth? Are we all just being hypochondriacs who need to get over ourselves and eat a sandwich?

Well…no, not quite.

The study that just launched a thousand headlines proclaiming the demise of gluten sensitivity is here. The researchers tested 37 patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), but without Celiac Disease. First, the patients ate a low FODMAPs diet for two weeks (including total elimination of wheat) – and almost all reported an improvement in symptoms.

Then the study began, with the participants still on the low-FODMAPs diet and total wheat elimination. The researchers also tested three experimental conditions: “high-gluten” (16 grams per day of isolated gluten); “low-gluten” (2 grams of gluten and 16 grams of whey); and the placebo group (16 grams of whey). There was no significant difference between the “high-gluten” group and the placebo group, suggesting that gluten per se was not actually the cause of the IBS symptoms.

So far, so good. But let’s put this in context:

It’s good to have this research; hopefully it can help us learn more about FODMAPs, IBS, and how to help people suffering from functional bowel disorders. But it doesn’t prove that “gluten sensitivity is bunk.”

Want more? From Wheat Belly, here’s a list of all the other stuff in wheat that you may want to avoid. Here’s Chris Kresser’s take on the study (including some practical tips for determining whether you’re sensitive to gluten or something else in wheat), and here’s a different perspective from Mark’s Daily Apple exploring all the things that have to do with gluten outside the gut.

Enough with the gluten already? Check out everything else that’s been going on lately:

Sugar in spoons

Have you tried re-introducing gluten, just to see what would happen? Do you notice a difference when you eliminate it? Let us know on Facebook or Google+!