It’s our secret – a gluten free diet doesn’t help healthy people improve their health. While I have a love/hate relationship with gluten free fad dieters for a variety of reasons, I really think I’ve been short changing them. I really think I should be thanking them.
A recent study showed that Gluten does not induce gastrointestinal distress in healthy subjects. Healthy subjects are those without Celiac disease or NCGS.
Twenty-eight healthy subjects were invited to participate in a double blind placebo controlled test of gluten consumption. Participants noted their gastrointestinal symptoms in a diary for one week prior to starting the testing. With help from a dietitian, they were all told to be on a gluten free diet for two weeks. All were given packets of either gluten or a gluten free blend to sprinkle on their food twice per day. If gluten was causing issues, they would have expected a change in gastrointestinal symptoms within 1 week in the gluten consumption group. At the end of two weeks, there were no changes in gastrointestinal symptoms from either group.
This was a very short study with a small number of volunteers over a very short duration. The authors point out, “As the GFD is not only thought to be no healthier than a “normal” diet, but has been suggested as overall suboptimal, there is possibly clinical justification in actively discouraging people from starting it if they have no diagnosable sensitivity.” This study might have some impact for our loved ones that are eating a gluten free diet in support of our need for a gluten free diet. I hear about a lot of spouses or significant others only eat gluten outside the home and that might be enough. Their gluten free diet might be worth mentioning to the significant other’s doctor the next time they visit.
I worry all the time about children being on a gluten free diet when they are not diagnosed with celiac or some other medical reason for them to be on a gluten free diet. But that might just be my crazy worry!
Furthermore, the gluten free marketplace is projected to keep expanding. I wrote an article back in April talking about how the gluten free marketplace should expand to $7.6b by 2024. The number of celiac sufferers is not growing that quickly. Right now it is about 1% of the US population and of those 50% are undiagnosed. So, if US has 350 million people that means approximately 3.5 million people have celiac disease and only half of them know it which makes it 1.75 million – that means we spend an awful lot of money on gluten free products!! But there is no way 1.75 million, or even 3 million people can sustain that type of growth.
Those fad dieters are driving the need for gluten free products. They are buying Tate’s Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies and Glutino and Schar products. They are supporting our ability to eat special treats on occasion.
So, thanks again fad dieters and keep it up even though a gluten free diet does you absolutely no good!! 😉 Sorry for the snark, please keep following me. 🙂 🙂 🙂