Affluent develop taste for gluten-free? (Sydney Morning Herald July 20)

Here is the Food Intolerance Network's response to Sarah Whyte's article http://www.smh.com.au/national/affluent-develop-taste-for-glutenfree-20130719-2q9rz.html

Dear Sarah

It is very simplistic to report that all those who are not diagnosed coeliacs must have chosen to be gluten-free for fad reasons. There is a scientifically recognised condition called gluten intolerance which is far more common and the number of undiagnosed coeliacs is considered to far out-number those diagnosed. You might also want to consider that a switch to gluten-free food usually means dramatically lowering one's intake of processed food, thus removing many additives known to affect people adversely and leading to markedly better health.

Gluten intolerance has many of the same symptoms as those suffered by coeliacs but has no known genetic basis. It is sometimes called "non-coeliac gluten intolerance".

Biesiekierski JR, Newnham ED, Irving PM, Barrett JS, Haines M, Doecke JD, Shepherd SJ, Muir JG, Gibson PR. Gluten causes gastrointestinal symptoms in subjects without celiac disease: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial. Am J Gastroenterol. 2011 Mar;106(3):508-14; quiz 515. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2010.487. Epub 2011 Jan 11. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21224837

Some of those who think they are reacting to gluten, however, may be reacting to fructans - research results are still coming in this area eg http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23648697

You quote a figure of 1% for coeliacs, but experts say many Australians experiencing chronic digestive problems caused by gluten intolerance may be suffering from coeliac disease. New figures suggest 4 out of 5 patients with coeliac disease are unaware they have the illness. Australian doctors are being urged to be more vigilant. The increase in coeliac tests in Australia is a response to this call, not a fad.

ABC News December 03, 2011 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-12-03/coeliac-sufferers-go-undiagnosed/3711118 and http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-12-19/the-health-quarter/3739096 quoting Dr Bob Anderson at the Walter and Eliza Institute of Medical Research http://www.wehi.edu.au/faculty_members/dr_bob_anderson

Diagnosed food intolerance has been reported to affect 19% of the Australian population.

Burke, K 2008, 'The effects of food allergy and food intolerance on the development of concepts of healthy eating and nutrition: incidence rates in an Australian population' in Allan, A, Bell, C, Cross, D, Devine, A, Martins, R, McGuigan, M, Newton, R & Rudd, C (eds.) 2008, VARIO Health Conference: physical and mental wellness - integrative approaches to Health. Conference proceedings, 1st and 2nd December, 2008. Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, WA, pp. 32-39. http://fedup.com.au/images/stories/Burke2008.pdf

You can see an excellent overview of irritable bowel symptoms including coeliac and gluten intolerance at http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/symptom-factsheets/irritable-bowel-symptoms-ibs