Is the growing phenomenon of gluten-intolerant diners an epidemic of the body, or of the mind?
A recent article in The New Scientist...magazine made a case that the growing number of cases of gluten intolerance is fueled in part by a form of hypochondria. Here's an exerpt...
"Scientists are applying themselves to the riddle, and last February Slate's Darshak Sanghavi reported on an Italian study that confirmed the existence of gluten intolerance ("non-coeliac wheat sensitivity") as a third, "distinct clinical condition". In the study, one-third of patients who self-identified as gluten-intolerant did in fact experience symptom relief after adopting a gluten-free diet. Case closed, right? Pass the gluten-free pasta.
"Not so fast. An important implication of the study is that two-thirds of people who think they are gluten intolerant really aren't. In light of this, the even-handed Sanghavi suggested that "patients convinced they have gluten intolerance might do well to also accept that their self-diagnosis may be wrong".
"Predictably, the comment thread exploded with rebuttals: defensive anecdotes, doctrinal pronouncements about the evils of gluten and accusations of corporate malfeasance, all of which bear a striking resemblance in tone and content to the rhetoric of anti-MSG advocates. For many, the truth of physiological gluten intolerance has now acquired a quasi-religious status..."
For the full text, go here.