Andrew Ducker (andrewducker) wrote,
Andrew Ducker

On some recent discoveries in food sensitivies

I have a personal interest in food sensitivities, because I am frequently frustrated by my own*.

One of the most annoying of these was gluten sensitivity. Or, at least, I thought it was. After all, the issue always occured when I ate wheat - giving me bloating, and general stomach unhappiness.

However, there's been some really interesting research which shows that that might not be the problem after all.

There's a fascinating write-up here, but basically, the researchers put some people who thought they were gluten onto an entirely non-allergenic diet for a couple of weeks, and then tried them on a variety of different diets, some containing gluten, some not. And discovered that all of these diets.....produced exactly the same effects.

Which means that whatever is going on, it's not gluten.**

I've seem some people respond to this by going "Hah! It's all in their heads - they aren't sensitive to gluten at all!" Which, to be honest, is completely unhelpful, because clearly _something_ is going on. And the answer seems to be in this quote from the research:
Reduction of FODMAPs in their diets uniformly reduced gastrointestinal symptoms and fatigue in the run-in period, after which they were minimally symptomatic
FODMAP is, of course, the world's worst acronym. But it's basically a group of foods*** that are known to cause issues to people with IBS, amongst others, and the symptoms are (according to the Wikipedia article) pain, a sensation of bloating, abdominal distension and motility disorders. Which pretty much describes what I have going on.

On top of this, I have a brother diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel disease, and I've had multiple attacks of uveitis, which tends to indicate that auto-immune things run in the family, and my stomach may not be the most accepting environment in the world. So this looks like a good pointer getting me closer to what might be going on.

Good news - I'm probably not gluten intolerant!
Bad news - I still can't eat bread, because it's one of the things that contains FODMAPs.
Worse news - there's a whole bunch of other stuff that I may need to try excluding, as they can cause issues. Many of which I love****. I can see a sodding food diary in my future.

And I will be making an appointment with my doctor tomorrow, to see if there are any useful tests they can run to help me work out what's going on.

And as I'm a complete dabbler in this area - if anyone else knows more about this then I'd love to hear about it.

*I really ought to write a proper post about this at some point. But the short version is that I started having low-blood-sugar attacks when I was 13, which seems to be reactive hypoglycemia. This is largely kept under control by me not eating sweet things any more. I can't eat more than tiny amounts of milk (23andme confirms that I lack the gene for lactose consumption, like about 75% of the planet). And I _thought_ I was sensitive to Gluten, as the above discusses.
**Well, not for these people. It's fairly small study
***Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols. I really hope someone comes up with a better term.
****Including apples, FFS! I mean, I've noticed stomach issues after stealing Apple's from Hugh's occasionally, but I always assumed it was happening due to me eating something dodgy earlier in the evening. Interestingly though, I've noticed that some apple types cause the issue more than others - I may have to experiment. I like apples too much to just stop.

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