Self-Diagnosed Gluten Intolerance FAKE?

Sorry Gwyneth, gluten is a 'pretty harmless little protein' and intolerance is a load of rubbish. Says SCIENCE.

You might want to duck when you tell this news to your gluten-eschewing friends.

Because however much they insist they've been feeling wonderful since ditching the dietary protein found in wheat, their gluten intolerance is likely to be rubbish. According to actual research by a scientist.

Obviously we're not talking coeliac disease here, which is horrible and a proper condition diagnosed by blood tests. But for the ever-growing pack of self-diagnosed intolerants, led by celebs such as Gwynnie and Miley, there's bad news.

Gastroenterologist Peter Gibson, who himself in 2011 suggested gluten intolerance was a real thing, wasn't convinced by his earlier research and did some more detailed tests to find out if there is any evidence to support the idea of gluten intolerance.

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His research compared people with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) and people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), putting both on the FODMAP diet for two weeks.

FODMAPS are foods that can cause irritation and are poorly absorbed by the small intestine, so removing them for a period of time can help with digestive problems of all kinds.

After two weeks on this diet, the subjects were split into three groups. One was put on a high gluten diet, one a medium gluten diet and one on a gluten-free diet.

Gibson tested serum and fecal markers (lovely) to check for inflammation and evidence of an immune response that would suggest gluten intolerance had flared up. But the results showed no significant difference in the response of the three different groups.

Those on the high gluten diet reacted no worse than those on the gluten free. Suggesting any digestive discomfort they experienced wasn't down to gluten.

In the report, published in the journal Gastroenterology, Gibson said: "Gluten-specific effects were observed in only eight per cent of participants.

"During the three-day rechallenge, participants' symptoms increased by similar levels among groups. Gluten-specific gastrointestinal effects were not reproduced."

So unless you have been diagnosed coeliac, gluten may not be the cause of your digestive distress. And trying the FODMAP diet might give you more joy.

But while those of us who get frustrated trying to cook for various 'intolerances' may be wringing our hands in glee about this news, to be honest, If it makes you feel better, you give up gluten. Just don't complain when there's no gluten-free option at dinner.