and why are so many people so angry about gluten?

not again.

gluten-free sourdough

“Gluten sensitivity is bullshit!”

I stared at my email and sighed. Not again.

Long ago, I signed up for a Google alerts for the words gluten-free and celiac, so I can keep up with the latest news on scientific studies for those of us whose bodies cannot tolerate gluten. Each day, I see gluten-free blog posts and announcements of yet another gluten-free brownie mix. There are also fascinating medical journal articles on zonulin inhibitors and the latest theories on the gut microbiome. (I’m a bigger scientific geek than often spills onto this blank white space.) Those I prize. The endless spewing about the sudden interest in gluten-free food? That I wish I didn’t see.

As you might know, a couple of weeks ago, everyone in the press and on the internet was discussing a study out of Monash University in Australia. The title of the study? “No Effects of Gluten in Patients With Self-Reported Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity After Dietary Reduction of Fermentable, Poorly Absorbed, Short-Chain Carbohydrates.”

Now, I understand that’s a mouthful. Most people don’t know what fermentable, poorly absorbed, short-chain carbohydrates are. If you don’t know what they are, they’re commonly referred to as FODMAPs. For those of you who don’t know, FODMAPS stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. Now that’s really a mouthful. These short-chain carbohydrates, for reasons that are not entirely clear, ferment and digest poorly in the intestines of some people with irritable bowel disorder. Each person who has problems with FODMAPs seems to have a different set of foods that bother the gut, and it’s an intricate dance of eliminating high FODMAP foods and adding them back in, one at a time, to see what is tolerable. What kinds of foods are high in FODMAPs? Artichokes, onions, anything with lactose. Honey. Apples. Lentils. Pears. And wheat, rye, and barley.

More →