A proper diagnosis?
An allergic reaction?
Or just a myth?
Non-coeliac gluten sensitivity is becoming a frequent topic of conversation. While we know that coeliac disease (CD) is an immune response to the protein “gluten”(found in wheat, barley, or rye) there is a new wave of patients who are experiencing IBS symptoms (diarrhoea, bloating, etc.) that seem to be induced by gluten without any evidence of coeliac disease. The UK is a nation which massively relies on bread. As many as 91% of us consume it! 🍞🥖🥨🥯
So where does this leave us?
As always, we turn to science for answers. 🔬
A placebo study revealed that 1/3 of 920 patients were susceptible to IBS symptoms when consuming wheat. And upon following a diet containing wheat their symptoms of abdominal pain, bloating, and stool consistency were worse than the wheat free diet group of the study. Conclusion: even without CD, gluten rich products can cause IBS-like symptoms.
Is it allergy then?
The answer is no. Wheat allergy would be a response to wheat proteins that would give distinctive changes in breathing, skin and stomach irritation and can be tested for by a serum assay or a simple skin prick test.
All this evidence has led to discussion among health experts, and there is now a recognised classification for gluten triggered conditions: coeliac disease, wheat allergy, and NON-CD GLUTEN SENSITIVITY. This means that gluten sensitivity is a SEPARATE condition. The treatment for which is still not agreed upon. Some allergy dieticians even suggest that this outbreak has to do with overexposure to gluten in the UK (where the absolute number one foods are bread and cereal).
So the takeaway today is this:
Gluten sensitivity is indeed a real thing and if you have concerns regarding your belly after eating wheat-containing foods (bread, pastries, doughnuts and pies, cereals and crackers, falafel, condiments, salad dressings, sauces and gravies processed meats, pasta, including couscous, gnocchi and filled pasta and more) you should speak to a GP or a registered dietitian (RD).