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Cause of Gluten Intolerance? Not Gluten.

Feature, Gut Health & IBS | May 30, 2015

A young girl feeding her father a nutritious homemade sandwich.
Cause of Gluten Intolerance? Not Gluten. Featured Image

Dietitians rejoice! Science saves the day. The cause of gluten intolerance is NOT gluten. The next time your client references ‘Wheat Belly’ you can refer them to this actual evidence-based research paper published in the journal, Cereal Chemistry.
While the gluten-free craze might have its heart in the right direction, its head is nowhere to be found. Gluten is often NOT the cause of intolerance type symptoms! My issues with the science behind the gluten-free craze:

  • ‘Wheat Belly’ is not a thing. Shame on you Dr. Davis for soliciting people feeling crappy with bunk evidence – do you still have two legs to stand on? Maybe the scientific community would have taken you seriously had you not sensationalized something that has a smidgen of merit – but then you wouldn’t have made millions, would you have?
  • ‘True’ gluten intolerance is likely much rarer than the four in ten people you meet walking down the street who have self diagnosed (I quote the word true, because we are still learning about what it actually means to be gluten intolerant – if it exists at all – the evidence is out on this one folks)

‘The science doesn’t support what people have been saying – there’s no such thing as Frankenwheat’ says Ravi Chibbar, whose paper was published Thursday in the journal Cereal Chemistry

I work predominately with IBS patients in my private practice. And the majority of them are petrified of gluten! I spend a lot of time managing the food fears that you food fear-mongerers have instilled in them. And while gluten containing foods may exacerbate gut symptoms in some people, poor gluten is not the culprit.

This is where science comes in:

  • Wheat itself contains fructans, a type of carbohydrate that might be difficult for those to digest with IBS – causing bloating, abdominal pain, and bowel irregularities.
  • Fructans are one of the high FODMAP culprits that may be contributing to your IBS symptoms. These carbohydrates may be difficult for you to digest – leading to fermentation in the colon, or they may cause water to move into the gut, causing diarrhea.
  • The majority of my clients can tolerate some amount of fractions. Ergo – they don’t have to be extremely restrictive when it comes to wheat, just be conscious of how it fits into their day. Exposure is NOT an issue – so cooking in the same kitchen with the same tools doesn’t put them at risk of gut damage in the way that those with celiac are at risk.

So if you have IBS symptoms with consumption of wheat, know that there is likely a cause – it’s just not gluten.

I recommend seeing a dietitian not only to help you with the elimination phase of the FODMAP diet, but to make sure you are able to re-introduce those FODMAP’s and find a certain tolerable level of the various types of FODMAP’s so you can live the healthiest life you ACTUALLY enjoy. One that isn’t so restrictive, and that ensures your gut stays healthy, over time.

Work with one of our RD’s and get your IBS symptoms or digestive woes under control in a way that ACTUALLY works.

Hope you love this article as much as I do.

Source: Canadian professor says wheat protein unchanged for 100 years, not cause of gluten intolerance – The Globe and Mail

One response to “Cause of Gluten Intolerance? Not Gluten.”

  1. Great article and great post (as always). My friend and I were just talking about IBS and fructans the other day. Clearly we are huge nerds. But you would appreciate that! 🙂

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