Is Gluten Sensitivity Real?

breadIt seems that every week there’s a new study that supposedly disproves something that I (and probably you) believe wholeheartedly.

This week the study is about gluten, and the media is now posing this question:

Is Gluten Sensitivity Real?

Here are a few of the latest media headlines:

On a purely guttural level, I will admit that these headlines offend me. I don’t have celiac, but when I eat foods with gluten in them, I feel terrible. I have a feeling (since you’re on a Paleo site) that you may feel the same.

These media claims are being made due to this study entitled, “No effects of gluten in patients with self-reported non-celiac gluten sensitivity after dietary reduction of fermentable, poorly absorbed, short-chain carbohydrates.”

In the study, they looked at a group of non-celiac IBS sufferers who said they felt better on a gluten-free diet. Then they gave them gluten capsules and found that they did not respond negatively to them. They did respond negatively to actual wheat, though (rather than just the isolated gluten), and the researchers’ conclusion was that it might be the FODMAPs (certain fibers and other carbohydrates in wheat and other foods) causing the negative reactions for some IBS sufferers.

So it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re dumb if you eat gluten-free, and it’s not a conclusive study. Some people may, indeed, be reacting to the gluten itself, some people may be reacting to the FODMAPs in wheat and other grains, and others may be reacting to something entirely different in the gluten-containing grains.

In fact, they concluded in the study that a LOT more research is needed in order to get a full handle on what’s going on, since obviously a lot of people do feel better on a gluten free diet (like me).

Further Reading

Luckily, 3 of the best minds in Paleo/Primal analyzed the study and explained the issues they had with the study, and the conclusions they’re drawing from it. I suggest you read the articles below if you have any concerns about the latest headlines or what (if anything) you need to do about it.

Basically, it’s a combination of conclusions being made where they maybe shouldn’t be and an interesting new twist on whether or not gluten is the true culprit (it may be something else).

Obviously, millions of people aren’t just making up the fact that they feel better when they don’t eat gluten grains…

So please read those articles and, regardless of what anyone says, I encourage you to come to your own conclusions about your own health via experimentation and an open mind.



  1. I am a firm believer in gluten sensitivity. I try and stay to a strict paleo diet, but am guilty of straying. When I do slip up and eat the occasional gluten rich food I suffer dearly. My skin breaks out and my lower back hurts. My daughter also suffers my wrath as I become extremely agitated and tired. For people who don’t believe I suggest they cut out gluten for at least 3 days then go back to it and see how they feel. It’s amazing the negative side effects people suffer from gluten.

  2. I know what you mean, these studies are really damaging! They focus on a technicality and feed it to the media who completely get the wrong end of the stick!

    I receive messages about these studies when they’re published in the media, and luckily I can quickly link to one of those three guys for an in depth critique. Talk about fighting our corner haha!

  3. I am a chef who spent some of my working life in a Teaching Hospital Diet Kitchen so I have a bit of expertise in doing what were called back then “Elimination Diets.” They work like this one creates a limited food list and using just those ingredients and nothing else one eliminates one ingredient
    for two or three days. No change, then it goes back in and another one comes out. It takes time but one goes through the whole list until one finds the ingredient that eliminates the symptoms.
    I suffered from severe heartburn for many years and in the end with no help from the pill pushers (Doctors) decided to do an elimination diet. Went through the whole list – nothing changed until the very last item. Bread – the staff of life – served at every meal – no real reason to check this one. I did and in two days the heart burn was gone. Fluke I said. Bread back in heartburn back in two hours. True it maybe some of the other constituents of wheat bread but who cares. I know what works for me and those johnny come lately grains have been gone for a while and I never felt better.
    So the long grey beards can write what they like, after all that is what they are paid to do; as for me I am sticking to Paleo – so simple so easy and the taste is superb.

  4. Gluten sensitivity is real I can assure you…. I have been Gluten free for nearly 30 years. and I went back on it for a couple of years and nearly killed my self… my body started to shut down etc etc…. so those who feel better off Gluten stick with it, its no different to being a diabetic. the guys who write those sort of articles don’t usually know what’s its like to feel rotten from what you eat.

  5. Thank you for this. I am getting so tired of seeing these “gluten sensitivity isn’t real” headlines. If it isn’t real why do I swell up like a balloon and have an autoimmune flare if i even have an accidental amount of gluten?

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