“Gluten Sensitivity” May Not Actually Be Caused By Gluten, Study Says
According to a new study, the reason behind gluten sensitivity may not be gluten, but something else. This study which was conducted by scientists from the University of Oslo and the Monash University was published in the GastroJournal. (1)
There are 13% of people who say they are sensitive to gluten (2). After eating bread or pasta, they have a bloated stomach. Anyway, there are only 1% of people who have been diagnosed with a coeliac disease which is followed by symptoms like indigestion and diarrhea.
Peter Gibson from the University of Monash reported that gluten was thought to be the reason behind gluten sensitivity because people who stopped consuming wheat felt better (3). However, Peter adds that may be the wrong assumption.
According to some studies, non-coeliacs had the same symptoms no matter if they consumed food with or without gluten. Anyway, there are so many foods that contain no gluten.
But, now, the new study blames the sugar chain named fructans which can be found in barley, rye, wheat, onions, chickpeas, garlic, cabbage, as well as artichokes. Gluten and fructans are found in wheat.
During the study, 59 non-celiacs that consumed food without gluten, ate special cereal bars. There were three types of these bars, one had gluten, the second had fructans, and the third one was free of them both.
The people who took part in the research were divided into three groups. Every group consumed one cereal bar every day for one week. Then, they had a break for a week and ate the next cereal bar.
They did not know which bar contained what, they all looked and tasted the same. The outcomes showed that the bars that contained fructans caused bloating 15% more than the control bar, and there were 13% increased gastrointestinal symptoms.
The interesting part is that the cereal bar that contained gluten had the same result as the bar used for control. This may be the answer to why people who consume foods without gluten cannot fully recover.
Even though these people remove wheat from their diet, they are still exposed to fructans found in other foods such as onions and garlic. So, these results show that fructans may be the cause of the symptoms.
Although gluten still causes some problems; the main reason may be the fructans. These findings may lower the risk of getting diabetes type two for people that consumed food that had no gluten (4).
Hard to Digest
These study results are compatible with 6 trials that say about 70% of people with sensitive bowel syndrome who do not consume fructans and nutrients from the FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides and Polyols), felt better. (5)
In fact, this is a short sugar chain that is hard to digest. They are fermented in the large intestine by a bacteria that produces gases, so this leads to stretching of the gut. Humans who have sensitive bowel syndrome know this because their guts have highly sensitive nerve endings.
According to Katie Ellard who is a gastroenterologist at Mater Hospital in Australia, a lot of doctors prescribe diets low in FODMAPs for people who have stomach issues. (6)
Also, she suggests people remove fructans from their diet. For instance, people may consume soy sauce because it has no gluten and it is low in fructans.