New Study Suggests it May be Fructan, Not Gluten, That is Upsetting People’s Stomachs

Source: University of Oslo – Norway

Summary: A new study suggested that fructan, not gluten may be held responsible for upsetting people’s stomach.

However only 1% of the population suffers from celiac disease, gluten-free diets have become a trend in the recent years. Some people as much as 13% of the population who are sensitive to gluten (composite of storage proteins) experience bloating after eating the foods that contain it. Because of this reason they seek foods such as gluten-free breads and pastas. But now the blame for bloating appears to be shifted on to fructan (a carbohydrate composed of fructose residues). People may look for fructan-free foods instead of gluten-free foods in the near future. Researchers in a new study from the University of Oslo, Norway suggested that fructan, not gluten may be held responsible for upsetting people’s stomach. The research findings were published in the journal Gastroenterology. 

Fructan may be responsible for stomach upset

Fructan, not Gluten, may be responsible for stomach upset. Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Fructan is generally found in wheat, onion, garlic and some vegetables. Previous research has found a possible link between fructan and symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). This led the researchers to find the role of fructan in upsetting stomach. Researchers enlisted 59 people who had self-diagnosed themselves for gluten-intolerance. After studying the records, researchers suggested that it is fructan, not gluten which is causing widespread bowel problems. This study is considered as a key distinction because some recent research has found that people who are on a gluten-free diet may be at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

One of the authors of the study, Peter Gibson said, “Gluten was originally assumed to be the culprit because of celiac disease, and the fact that people felt better when they stopped eating wheat”, “Now it seems like that initial assumption was wrong.”

More Information: Gry I. Skodje et al. Fructan, “Rather Than Gluten, Induces Symptoms in Patients With Self-reported Non-celiac Gluten Sensitivity”, Gastroenterology (2017). DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2017.10.040


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