For starters. what is gluten? Gluten is a protein that’s present in many grains. It’s responsible for the elasticity of dough. As it turns out, most people who eat a gluten-free diet don’t even know what gluten is! That’s how powerful the gluten-free lobby is.
Before I explain, I’m going to express that Celiac Disease is a true, horrible, and real example of gluten intolerance. Celiac Disease is an auto-immune deficiency in which the immune system attacks the lining of the small intestine when gluten is absorbed. It’s a horrible disease and affects 1 in 100 people, 1% of the population.
But if you talk to health nuts, it seems that all of them are gluten intolerant. The idea of gluten sensitivity came from a small 2011 study from Peter Gibson from Monash University. The study found that gluten-containing diets can cause gastrointestinal stress in people who don’t have Celiac Disease. Since the study came out, the gluten free ‘industry’ has exploded. You can now find the words ‘GLUTEN FREE’ on the packaging of nearly every type of food- even some that don’t have gluten anyway, like orange juice! Sales of gluten free foods is expected to hit $15 BILLION in 2016.
After Dr. Gibson released his initial study, he thought it was odd that so many of his test subjects would have had gluten sensitivity when every single culture across the world is grain-heavy, and thus everyone has evolved while eating gluten. Gluten is a major part of every normal diet, so something didn’t seem right.
So he decided to do a larger study than his initial first study. In a study published in the Journal Gastroenterology last year, Dr. Gibson took 37 self-declared gluten-intolerant test subjects and tested their sensitivity to gluten. Every meal was provided to the test subjects during the duration of the study. These meals had every known food that could cause gastrointestinal problems removed. Some meals had no gluten (placebo meals), some had high gluten, and some had low gluten. The test subjects didn’t know which specific diet they were on at any given time.
As it turns out, every single diet, including the placebo diet, caused pain, bloating, nausea, and gas to some degree- and with no consistency. Dr. Gibson and his team attribute this to the mental affect of the test subjects knowing they were being tested for gluten sensitivity, and their mind basically creating the problem!
So at least for the time being, there is NO EVIDENCE of anything in gluten that causes an intolerance other than Celiac Disease. While the title of this post says gluten sensitivity ‘might not exist,’ there is no science to show that it actually does. So we’re saying might just to cover our butts. And while there are people who have legitimate allergies to wheat and some grains, but there’s medical evidence that any more than 1 in 100 people should avoid gluten- even though 37 in 100 adults say they try to avoid it.
So stick with what you know. Avoid processed foods and glutens and bleached flours, and as long as your macronutrient percentages are good, you’re golden!
– The Squad
If you’d like to read more about the study, click here.