Is It Really Gluten Sensitivity.. or All About Fructans?

Is It Really Gluten Sensitivity.. or All About Fructans?

Are you living carb-free because of complications? It might not be gluten that’s causing your headaches and indigestion.

If you think you have a gluten sensitivity, something called fructans could actually be at the root of your discomfort.

A new study described by, and done in cooperation between researchers from the University of Oslo in Norway and those from Monash University in Australia, holds the possible seeds of truth.

The work involved 59 people who were professed non-celiacs (ie, they weren’t clinically proven to be allergic to gluten) but ate a gluten-free diet.

Related: Why Your Kids Shouldn’t Have a Gluten-Free Diet

These study participants were broken down into three groups. The first group ate a cereal bar with gluten for a week, the next a bar containing fructans, and the last group a bar that contained neither of these ingredients. Participants were asked to report on their digestion discomfort and bloating, after eating the bars.

Each group ate one particular cereal bar for a week, before taking a week-long break and then progressing onto the next bar for another week. By the end, they’d been exposed to all three. No one knew what they were eating, when consuming the food.


What was found might surprise you. OK, I’ll admit the results aren’t earth-shattering and we’re aren’t dealing with a striking difference from one bar to the next. But there was a slight something noticed.

When the cereal bar containing fructans was ingested, participants reported 15 per cent more bloating than the control bar, as well as 13% more gastrointestinal troubles. Interestingly, when people ate the bar containing gluten, there was no difference found at all.

What’s the takeaway? Gluten sensitivity isn’t something fake. At least not if you suffer from celiac disease.

Only about 1 per cent of any given population actually suffers from this, though. And so, it looks like at least a few sensitive non-celiacs may have some problem digesting fructans. These are a type of sugar found in wheat, barley, rye, and other commonly eaten foods.

Think avoiding them could help you out? For more information on fructans, click here.

Photo credits: xamnesiacx/

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