This is a huge change from Gibson’s previous study on a gluten diets. He’d previously done a study on this topic in 2011 which indicated that non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), what is commonly referred to by most people as “gluten intolerance,” was real. The results of his study were used as evidence on why people should reduce gluten in their diets or go gluten free. Ultimately, however, he was unsatisfied with the results of the first study, and decided to conduct another study to get more information. The new study found results which opposed those found in the first one, and may overturn the results of his initial study according to Real Clear Science.
In the second study, Gibson studied 37 individuals who had already been tested by doctors and they had all been cleared of having celiac disease. Although they didn’t have celiac disease, all subjects did say they experienced improved gastrointestinal symptoms when they chose to eat a gluten-free diet and had self-diagnosed themselves as having gluten sensitivity.
All were given a baseline diet to begin the study which was low in fermentable, poorly absorbed short-chain carbohydrates (FODMAPs). They were then divided into three groups: one with a high-gluten diet, one with a low-gluten diet and a control diet. At the end of the study, all participants reported their gastrointestinal symptoms had worsened, no matter which of the three diets they had taken.
What the study did find was when the participants were on the low FODMAP diet, their symptoms did show improvement. The interesting part of this finding is FODMAPs are mostly found in bread products, pastas and beer, which are some of the main products removed when people go on a gluten-free diet. This could be one of the reasons why so many people say they feel better when they begin a gluten free diet.
Research is continuing to determine whether non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) really exists. The researchers believe more studies need to be done saying, “These data suggest that NCGS, as currently defined, might not be a discrete entity or that this entity might be confounded by FODMAP restriction, and that, at least in this highly selected cohort, gluten might be not be a specific trigger of functional gut symptoms once dietary FODMAPs are reduced.”
(Photo courtesy of Memphis CVB)