• Germany's news in English

Study: 'War on gluten' trend misdirected

The Local · 1 Jul 2013, 07:41

Published: 01 Jul 2013 07:41 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

“Gluten sensitivity” applies to people who have not been diagnosed with Coeliac disease – a genetic autoimmune disorder – but who report a relief of symptoms such as diarrhoea and bloating when they cut gluten out of their diet.

Scientists as of yet have failed to grasp the phenomenon, which researchers from the University of Guttenberg, in Mainz, decided to have a closer look at.

They compared immune responses to traditionally-grown wheat with high-output varieties. Their results found a link between gluten sensitivity and the Adenosine Triphosphate Amylase (ATI) protein, which is found in larger quantities in high-output wheat.

ATIs are natural insect repellents and modern farming techniques grow high ATI-containing crops to increase their yield. This could explain why gluten sensitivity has been on the rise.

But study author Detlef Schuppan is cautious about interpreting the results. “The whole thing is very new,” he told news magazine Der Spiegel. “We need more data from clinical trials to deduce the consequences for patients.”

Other experts are keen to dispel the myth that a gluten-free lifestyle is healthier.

“Gluten-free diets are of no benefit to healthy people,” said Stephanie Baas of the German Coeliac Society (DZG). “Gluten gives food its taste and holds dough together, giving baked goods a pleasant consistency. When it’s left out, manufacturers have to add more sugar and fat to bread, cake and biscuits.”

She also cautioned against trying to lose weight by adopting a gluten-free diet, pointing to the fact that the more people who adopt a gluten-free diet by choice, the harder it will be to diagnose Coeliac Disease, which is at present only discovered by patients who suffer the adverse consequences of eating it.

If left undiagnosed, Coeliac disease could lead to further complications such as osteoporosis and intestinal tumours.

Story continues below…

Dieticians also warn consumers not to be taken in by deceptive labelling.

In Germany there have been cases of cheese and plain chocolate being labelled as “gluten-free,” though neither of the products normally contain gluten. And in Spain, even some brands of mineral water make the claim.

The Local/kkf

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

Isis suspect charged with scouting Berlin attack sites
Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Thursday they had brought charges against a 19-year-old Syrian man accused of having scouted targets in Berlin for a potential attack by the Isis terror group.

Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

Eurowings strike to hit 40,000 passengers
Travelers impacted by the strike on Thursday wait at Cologne Bonn airport. Photo: DPA.

The day-long strike by a Eurowings cabin crew union is expected to impact some 40,000 passengers on Thursday as hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

US 'warned Merkel' against Chinese takeover of tech firm
Aixtron HQ. Photo: DPA

The German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese firm to purchase Aixtron, which makes semiconductor equipment, after the US secret services raised security concerns, a German media report said Wednesday.

Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd