It is estimated that one in 100 people can develop the disease in Europe (source). The prevalence appears identical in the North American continent. In France, only 10 to 20% of cases are now diagnosed. , a rare genetic disease that makes people intolerant to gluten, and it turns out that this number is not on the rise.
A study published this month found that the prevalence of celiac disease has remained virtually unchanged since 2009.
And as for all those who say they are simply “sensitive” to gluten, a 2013 study from Monash University revealed that this was probably not the case.
So what’s really going on when people stop eating gluten?
Alan Levinovitz, an adjunct professor at James Madison University studying the intersection of religion and medicine and author of The Gluten Lie, says that this is essentially a mixture of psychology and behavioral change.
In the book, Levinovitz questions Monash University director of gastroenterology Peter Gibson, who helped write the 2013 study on “” intolerance “to gluten.
“I’ve noticed it many times, even with family members,” Gibson told Levinovitz. “They decided to eat a lot of takeaway foods, fast foods, not to eat well at all. They read that about gluten, then they started buying fresh vegetables, good food, and eating better. “
According to Gibson “Blaming gluten is easy, but there could be a hundred other things to blame too”
But this can be a hard pill to swallow.
“In terms of eating sensitivities, people are incredibly reluctant to self-diagnoses,” Levinovitz writes. “Nobody wants to believe that the benefits they’ve had by eating gluten-free … can be psychological. “
On top of that, combining what we ate with physical symptoms is incredibly difficult. Not only do studies show that we have trouble remembering what we ate when we ate it, but we are also bad at judging what is healthy and what is not.