Gluten free diet – yes or no?

A gluten free diet may be a recipe for poor health, says Epworth Dean Of Medicine Professor Geoffrey Metz. He believes that up to nine in ten people on a gluten free diet don’t have Coeliac disease and might be doing more harm than good.


New research shows that being on a gluten free diet can be associated with weight gain, insulin resistance, slower metabolism and vitamin deficiencies.


At the same time, research has found that eight out of ten people who have the disease remain undiagnosed. This may lead not only to bloating, flatulence, weight loss, weakness and tiredness, but also may increase the risk of bone and blood disorders and vitamin deficiencies.


Coeliac disease is a digestive condition where the small intestine becomes inflamed and unable to absorb nutrients. It is caused by a reaction to gluten, which is a protein found in wheat and in other grains such as barley and rye.


Professor of Gastroenterology Professor of Professor of Gastroenterology Geoffrey Metz says the solution is identifying those who will benefit from a gluten restricted diet.


“Eighty per cent of people with Coeliac disease don’t know they have it and 90 per cent of people on a gluten free diet don’t have Coeliac disease,” says Professor Metz.


“There is a worldwide trend towards restricting intake of gluten free foods, fuelled by film stars and leaders in sport, but that is not necessarily the best option nutritionally, as gluten-free foods are usually higher in starch, sugar, fat and calories as well as being lower in fibre.”


Professor Metz presented the data at the opening Plenary session of the World Congress of Gastroenterology in Orlando, Florida in October 2017.