‘Low-FODMAP’ Better Than ‘Gluten-Free’ Due To Better Science

One week ago, friends and family members gathered around tables strewn with mashed potatoes, greasy gravy, shimmering vegetables, and juicy turkey jam-packed with stuffing.

Though it may seem sacrilege to many ardent eaters, gluten-free Thanksgiving options likely made the rounds at many festive dinners around the country.

Three out of every ten Americans are now trying to eat less gluten, a protein commonly found in wheat, barley, and rye that’s been criticized for inciting everything from gastrointestinal discomfort to  an autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten in which the hair-like villi that line the small intestine become damaged, leading to gastrointestinal discomfort and hampered nutrient absorption.

Though gluten is significantly more studied than FODMAPs — a PubMed search returned nearly 4,000 results on gluten and just 53 on FODMAPs — scientists have still yet to conclusively determine the mechanism for how gluten could cause stomach issues in people without celiac disease. On the other hand, it’s well understood how FODMAPs can trigger gut discomfort. Occam’s Razor should be put to use here. FODMAPs may be the stomach irritants we’ve been looking for, not gluten. In fact, a well-controlled study published last year found that when patients diagnosed with gluten sensitivity went on a , their symptoms largely disappeared.