A gluten-free diet has become a normal term in recent years. Many people are complaining about sensitive stomachs, bloating and digesting problems due to gluten. This lead them to living on a gluten-free diet because they fear their worries are caused by gluten, or wheat intolerance. In recent years, an increasing number of people have complained that they are intolerant to wheat, but is this a new phenomena?
Gluten has in fact been around for ages. It is a natural protein found in all whole grains such as wheat, rye and barley.
A lot of people experience that they eat wheat their whole life, and then suddenly react badly to it. As wheat intolerance is often a genetic condition, this could be explained by the fact that they have always carried the gene, but something in their life has meant that the gene becomes exposed.
Some people pin the “gluten-sensitivity craze” on a study by Peter Gibson in 2011. In this study he published he found that gluten causes gastrointestinal distress in patients without celiac disease. This was the strongest piece of evidence that non-celiac gluten sensitivity actually existed.
This study meant that people paid attention to the fact that their stomach sensitivity could have been caused by gluten, thus leading to the gluten-free diet. This isn’t to say that this is when gluten sensitivity arose, but it is when it was shed light on.
According to Mintel, a market research company, sales of gluten free products in America will rise to a total of $16 billion in 2016. About 6% of the population reportedly had wheat intolerance, meaning a lot of people are buying the products as a precaution, or because they think they have gluten sensitivity.
Forbes magazine reported on a study that found that the rise of gluten sensitivity is not because a rise in the problem itself, but that it is driven my consumerism. This was found in a study done by Gibson again, later. He found that people put on a diet with gluten in, and without both reacted the same, claiming to have digestive distress. This showed that the digestive distress was psychological, not caused by gluten.
Although gluten (wheat) has been around forever, one point can be that we do eat it a lot more then they did a hundred years ago. Therefore, as the consumption of gluten has increased, the problems associated with it could have as well. The wheat we consume today also has more gluten in it than it did a hundred years ago. It wasn’t until about a decade ago people gave gluten much thought, and now, a third of Americans say they are trying to eliminate gluten from their diets.
The fear of gluten could just be a cultural thing, that has been shed light on in recent years. It depends who you ask. There are a lot of theories about gluten, among others that gluten has just recently become more toxic. Surely though, as the years have gone by, and modern diet has changed, our bodies have become accustomed to the amount of wheat we eat?