What Is Gluten Sensitivity?

As the word “sensitive” suggests, gluten sensitivity is a reaction to ingesting gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye.  Research estimates that 18 million Americans have Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) which is 6 times the amount of Americans who have celiac disease.1  According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, unlike Celiac Disease, NCGS is not a disease of the immune system and does not lead to damage of the small intestine2.

For those with celiac disease or a wheat allergy, avoiding wheat and gluten is critical to health. Gluten damages the inner lining of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients. Celiac disease can lead to anemia, osteoporosis, seizures, lymphoma or cancer of the small intestine.

But for those with NCGS, avoiding wheat and gluten is not critical. Yet they may see improvements in gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and abdominal discomfort when wheat and gluten are avoided.

Facts About Wheat & Gluten

  • Gluten sensitivity may affect up to 15% of the population3
  • 30% of US adults (almost 70 million) are either trying to reduce or completely avoid gluten in their diets4
  • The gluten-free market is estimated at $4.2 billion and forecasted to top $6.6 billion by 20175
  • Gluten can hide in processed meats like deli and canned meats, hot dogs and sausages.
  • Gluten can hide in sous and sauces like gravy, soy sauce, BBQ sauce and salad dressing.
  • Many vitamins and medications use gluten as a binding agent.
  • A common source of contamination is the toaster when preparing traditional and gluten-free bread6
  • People on gluten-free diets are often iron deficient.
  • 30 to 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant7
  • 65% of people feel their digestive problems are triggered by eating the wrong type of foods8