Gluten-Free Diet Health Benefits Just Myths? Study Suggests Real Reason For Its Positive Effects

First Posted: Sep 22, 2016 04:29 AM EDT

At present, gluten-free diets are becoming more popular in different parts of the world. Some say that avoiding gluten is a healthy way to lose weight, while some claim to reap the overall health benefits of going gluten-free. Amidst these beliefs is a new study that says otherwise: While avoiding gluten can be beneficial to people, it is actually not the mere absence of gluten that can make them feel better.

A gluten-free diet is especially beneficial to people with celiac disease, an autoimmune and digestive illness in which intake of gluten-containing food harms the lining of the small intestine. But even the non-sufferers opt for this diet due to the thought that it provides numerous health benefits. In U.S.A. alone, 2.7 million people opt for a gluten-free diet, but according to USA Today, nearly a million of these people don't have celiac disease.

According to Science Alert, there has been no increase in the prevalence of celiac disease since 2009 and only one percent of Americans suffer from the illness. And in response to those who claim that they are just sensitive to gluten, experts say this is probably not real. Such response was based on the findings from a study done by Monash University in 2013.

As for the real reason why lots of people claim to have reaped some health benefits of avoiding gluten, James Madison University assistant professor Alan Levinovitz said that it's a combination of behavioral change and psychology. Additionally, Peter Gibson who was part of the 2013 study said it's the overall change of diet that makes people feel better. AOL likewise reported that those who have been avoiding gluten have chosen to eat vegetables and cook healthier foods, and these are clear factors that can improve one's health. Gibson added that while cutting gluten seems to have positive results, there are about 500 other things that should actually take the credit.

Based on the experts' claims, avoiding gluten has little to nothing to do with improving one's health. It is basically about changing one's diet and lifestyle.

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