Gluten-free diet gains popularity, despite no rise in celiac disease

Gluten-free diet gains popularity, despite no rise in celiac disease

Though the prevalence of celiac disease in the United States has remained steady, more Americans are adopting a gluten-free diet. This is the finding of a new study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition characterized by an intolerance to gluten – a protein naturally present in wheat, rye, and barley, and which acts as a “glue” in foods such as bread, cereal, and pasta.

When an individual with celiac disease consumes foods containing gluten, the body’s immune system attacks the small intestine, damaging finger-like projections called villi, which are important for absorption of nutrients from food.

Symptoms of celiac disease include bloating, chronic diarrhea,constipation, stomach pain, and nausea and vomiting.

The only way for people with celiac disease to avoid these symptoms is to adopt a gluten-free diet, but – as the new study affirms – it seems that even people without the condition are moving toward a preference for gluten-free foods.

The gluten-free diet has gained enormous popularity in recent years; according to market research company NPD, around26-30 percent of adults in the U.S. claim to be reducing their gluten intake or avoiding gluten completely, despite not being diagnosed with any form of gluten sensitivity.

This dietary shift has been attributed to studies that claim avoiding gluten can have significant benefits for the average person, such as weight loss and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. The gluten-free diet has even been touted by celebrities, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Jenny McCarthy.

Some studies, however – such as one published in the journal Gastroenterology in 2013 – claim that a gluten-free diet has no health benefits for people without celiac disease… Read More>>

Source: Medical News Today

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