Recently there has been misleading press coverage of a small study out of Monash University in Australia. This study of 37 people who did not have celiac disease was not, as is popularly reported, evidence that there is no such thing as non-celiac gluten sensitivity (or NCGS). What it did show is something that most celiacs could have told you. The most common symptoms of gluten sensitivity are not in the stomach, they are in the brain. The digestive problems may indicated gluten sensitivity, but it may also indicate an entirely different problem.
Oh and the EXACT SAME researchers know this. They also published this article linking gluten and depression
However this time, the researchers were interested in a different food sensitivity. FODMAPs and fructans are found in many high carbohydrate foods such as fruit, many grains (including wheat) dairy, and other foods. What the study showed that people who had neither celiac disease nor medically verifiable NCGS were reacting to additional foods. Exclusion of gluten was not sufficient because they were actually reacting to other foods, quite possibly FODMAPS and not gluten.
This is the actual abstract that they published
So actually instead of showing that gluten sensitivity is not real, it actually showed that there is a third reason to avoid wheat products…and that it is not sufficient to avoid gluten.
The study was actually designed to prove something that is the very basis of this site. Put simply, if you can’t eat wheat there is probably a whole bunch of stuff you cannot eat. It is almost never just gluten.
You can read the NPR story on this topic here
If you want to know what non-celiac gluten sensitivity actually is, you can read the following paper.
Or you can listen to Dr. Fasano of Mass General describing what NCGS actually is in my blog post here
By the way, none of this negates the silliness of avoiding gluten without actively banning it 100%. When it comes to avoiding gluten, the only way to go is Yoda’s way, “Do or do not do…there is no try”.