DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Although only an estimated 1% of the US population has celiac disease, millions more, 11% of US households, eat gluten free. Celiac is an autoimmune disease whereby the immune cells attack the lining of the small intestine, resulting in malabsorption and greater risk of diabetes and other autoimmune disorders. Strict avoidance of gluten is mandatory for people with celiac disease.
But, millions of people believe they suffer from gluten sensitivity, also known as Non-celiac gluten sensitivity; or NCGS. Until recently, the diagnostic criterion for NCGS was if you felt better avoiding gluten then you had NCGS. Physicians and scientists working in the field became concerned that this simple criterion was prone to subjective evaluation and conditioning; i.e., the placebo effect, and could cause many people to unnecessarily avoid an otherwise nutritious food staple.