- A review article published in the August 2015 issue of Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants concluded no published scientific research supports health benefits of a gluten-free diet for people without Celiac disease, wheat allergy, nonceliac gluten sensitivity or certain autoimmune diseases.
- Despite popular weight-loss claims, the researchers found no research concerning weight-loss on a gluten-free diet for people without Celiac disease. "It's an unanswered question," according to Glenn A. Gaesser, PhD, one of the study's authors. Research on people with the disease has found that some people lose weight while others gain weight.
- The article also questioned whether the symptoms of nonceliac gluten sensitivity might be caused by Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols (fodmaps), rather than gluten. Fodmaps are prevalent in wheat but also in foods such as some diary, some fruits and some other types of non-grain foods.
"People who eliminate gluten may end up gaining weight because these foods often have more calories than their gluten-containing counterparts," said Gaesser, who is also chairman of the Grain Foods Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board. "There is also preliminary evidence that consuming gluten-containing foods, especially whole grain wheat products high in dietary fiber, may boost beneficial gut bacteria."
A January 2015 report from Packaged Facts found a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34% for retail sales of gluten-free foods had over the five-year period ended in 2014. Sales reached $973 million in 2014 and are predicted to be over $2 billion in 2019, fueled by consumers who believe gluten-free is healthier. Will a lack of scientific evidence deter them? Gaesser thinks the trend might start to level off if people realize they aren't getting the benefits they hoped for from a gluten-free diet. In the meantime, people with Celiac disease are happy to have so many more food options.