LSJ - July 2017
The gluten-free phenomena is not just a frustrating conundrum for health and medical professionals, it may be downright unhealthy, reports LYNN ELSEY. Magic ormyth? GLUTEN FREE FOODS:
Y ou would have to be living under a rock to be unaware of the gluten-free food epidemic. In 2015, 10 per cent of all new food and beverage products launched worldwide were gluten free; from 2011 to 2016 the market value of gluten-free foods increased from US$1.7 billion to $3.5 billion, according to The Financial Times . Although less than 1 per cent of the population su ers from coeliac disease, a serious immune reaction to gluten, at least 20 per cent of the Australian and global population (mainly women) believe that going gluten-free could make their bodies healthier. So why are so many people who don’t have a medically-diagnosed illness devoting money, time and energy to avoid gluten? Some believe that gluten-free foods are a miracle cure for everything from autism, arthritis and weight loss to
cancer; others just think they are healthier in general.
Another group believes they su er from gluten intolerance, sometimes known as non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), which they think causes bloating and other digestive-related symptoms, including irritable bowel syndrome. As there is no validated test to diagnose gluten intolerance, people are either self-diagnosing or following advice from other sources, including alternative health care gurus, celebrities and magazine articles. However, an array of studies and research shows no connection between perceived gluten intolerance and the consumption of gluten. Science speaks In 2014, Monash University researchers Dr Jessica Biesiekierski and Peter Gibson found no physical responses or underlying causes for any gastrointestinal distress reported from eating gluten.
52 LSJ I ISSUE 35 I JULY 2017
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