Gluten-free bashing has gotten really popular these past few months. Bashing on the non-celiac gluten free people, to be clear. The people that refer to themselves as “gluten sensitive” or “gluten intolerant”. I’m constantly coming across articles that state gluten sensitivity is a made-up condition by health quacks and that the symptoms associated with gluten intolerance are all in one’s head.
This gets me SO. RILED. UP.
Are there unqualified people spreading false information about gluten intolerance?
Are there people following a gluten-free diet for no real reason except they have been lead to believe that it is healthier?
Yes. There are always going to be fad diet followers. Gluten-free as a fad is no exception.
Is there a scientifically proven reason for people to be gluten intolerant even when celiac disease is not present?
Well, kind of. The gluten intolerant part is not quite accurate. But there IS a reason why non-celiac people will experience digestive distress when consuming products that contain gluten, it’s just not the gluten that is causing it.
Here’s what you need to know:
Gluten is a protein found in the wheat tribe and related grains, including wheat, rye, and barley. These grains contain FODMAPs. FODMAPs is an acronym for a group of small carbohydrate molecules found in numerous, everyday foods.
These carbohydrates are poorly absorbed in the small intestine of some people and cause digestive distress. FODMAPs move through the digestive tract to the large intestine, where they can draw water into the colon and are rapidly fermented by naturally-occurring gut bactoeria. The fermentation of FODMAPs produces gas and other by-products. This can result in symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea and/or constipation.
This is why some people who do not have celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten products.
It’s just being described incorrectly. It should be called FODMAP intolerant, instead of gluten or wheat intolerant.
So, my gluten-free haters, keep this is mind next time you get all judgy-pants on the non-celiac gluten-free peeps. And if you find yourself in a discussion with someone who is following a gluten-free diet but isn’t aware of the FODMAP connection, send them in the direction of a FODMAP knowledgeable nutritionist: products labelled as gluten-free doesn’t mean they are low in FODMAPs!
For those who find themselves in digestive distress after eating wheat products, or suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, try experimenting with a low FODMAP diet. Here are some handy charts of low FODMAP foods and high FODMAP foods. Visit the Monash University website as well, as they are at the forefront of the FODMAP research. They also have a FANTASTIC smartphone app.
Hit me with your questions! I personally follow a low FODMAP diet and let me tell you, it’s a game changer.