Do people with gluten sensitivity but not celiac disease get GI symptoms if they think they’re eating gluten?

Researchers gave 83 adults with non-celiac gluten sensitivity two slices of bread both at breakfast and lunch. The participants were randomly assigned to:

  • expect and get bread with gluten,
  • expect and get bread without gluten,
  • expect bread with—but get bread without—gluten, or
  • expect bread without—but get bread with—gluten. 

Average GI symptoms scores were higher for those who expected and got bread with gluten (16.6) than for those who neither expected nor got gluten (7.4) and for those who didn’t expect but got gluten (6.9). 

But there was no statistically significant difference between scores for those who expected but didn’t get gluten (11.7) and those who expected and got gluten (16.6). 

The study was partly funded by several baking and food companies.

What to do

Think you’re sensitive to gluten but don’t have celiac? You might get symptoms because you expect them.

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