Are bread and gluten the best and healthiest options? Probably not. Are they the worst options you could ever have if you do not have celiac disease? Probably not, either.
In an interesting twist of events, a researcher who originally provided evidence of non-celiac gluten sensitivity has now published a follow-up paper showing the exact opposite.
In 2011, Peter Gibson at Monash University performed a study that showed that gluten-containing diets can cause gastrointestinal distress even in people without celiac disease – an autoimmune disorder triggered specifically by gluten whether it be in wheat, barley, bulgur, etc. This was commonly referred to as “non-celiac gluten sensitivity”.
However, as any good scientist can tell you, Gibson was determined to find a more finite resolution to his previous study. He wanted to find out why this reaction seemed to be occurring and not just if, so he made sure his next study was as specific, detailed, and as finite as possible.
The follow-up paper consisted of 37 self-identified gluten-sensitive individuals who were provided with every single meal for the duration of the trial. Every meal was void of other potential dietary triggers ranging from lactose, preservatives, and FODMAPs (fermentable, poorly absorbed short-chain carbohydrates) but cycled through high-gluten, low-gluten, and no-gluten diets.
Finally, for the most accurate readings, Gibson made sure to collect nine days worth of urine and fecal matter from each individual to examine. If that’s not thorough we don’t know what is.
The end result? Everyone reported pain, bloating, nausea, and gas – even when they cycled onto the placebo non-gluten diet. Gibson’s conclusion?
“In contrast to our first study… we could find absolutely no specific response to gluten.”
Well, there you go. You can eat bread without worrying it is making you pack on the pounds mysteriously. Eat it, enjoy it, but of course practice moderation. You probably should not have a baguette at every meal, but switching up the carbohydrate sources, including veggies, fruit and different kinds of protein at every meal makes for a well-rounded diet. More advice? Stress less and get over your food fears. This “nocebo” effect can manifest itself in your body in uncomfortable ways but not because of what you think – i.e. bread!
For more food features, check out our articles here.