New study giving insights into gluten free dietary choices—6 April 2018

New research supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC) has compared demographic data with Australian Bureau of Statistics data to gain an accurate representation of gluten avoidance within the population.

“The popularity of gluten-free diets has gained traction over the last decade, to a point where up to 20 per cent of the population is estimated to be engaged in gluten avoidance behaviours,” says Ms Kyah Hester, a PhD candidate based at Charles Sturt University's ARC Industrial Transformational Training Centre for Functional Grains.

“This far exceeds the estimated prevalence of gluten-related disorders, such as coeliac disease, suggesting that people are choosing to go gluten free for a range of reasons which may not be medical in nature,” says Ms Hester.

The online survey was followed up with an indepth study of non-coeliac gluten avoiders to measure the frequency of avoidance behaviours, participants’ perceptions, determinants of food choice, interpersonal experiences relating to their diets and a wide range of psychological variables, including personality traits. 

“The results suggest that non-coeliac gluten avoiders don’t just steer away from gluten, but also avoid other food types, such as dairy or eggs,” Ms Hester said. “They were also significantly more likely to experience frequent adverse physiological symptoms, both after the consumption of foods and on a general daily basis.”

The research, which highlights that many non-coeliacs aren’t satisfied by the treatment response they get from doctors, is providing new insights into why people choose to go gluten-free.

Media issued by Charles Sturt University.


Image: Gluten-free beer grains—Sorghum, Brown Rice, Oats, Toasted.
Source: FoodCraftLab on Flickr  (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Original Published Date: 
Friday, April 6, 2018