A lot of people are adopting gluten-free diets even though they may not necessarily be suffering from gluten allergies, or celiac disease, which causes the body to react in a hostile manner to gluten. According to a new study, more people are eating gluten-free, although the prevalence of celiac disease appears to have remained stable in recent years. The study, published by Jama Internal Medicine, was conduced in the US, and focused on data that was collected from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) 2009 to 2014.
Data was collected from over 22,000 individuals who underwent blood tests for celiac disease, and the study found that “overall, 106 (0.69 percent) individuals had a celiac disease diagnosis and 213 (1.08 percent) were identified as adhering to a gluten-free diet although they didn’t have celiac disease.” Those numbers correlated to an estimated 1.76 million people with celiac disease and 2.7 million people who adhere to a gluten-free diet even though they don’t have celiac disease in the United States. So, what the study found is that the number of people on the diet had tripled, even as the proportion claiming to be diagnosed with celiac disease actually fell by 17 percent.
According to the authors, the reason for the popularity of gluten-free diet could be because of the “perception that it may be healthier,” “self-diagnosis of gluten insensitivity” and “the fact that the diet is trendy”, but they also agree that more awareness about gluten and its allergies could be causing lesser incidences of the disease.