Nearly a million people following a gluten-free diet don't have celiac disease

About 2.7 million Americans avoid gluten in their diet, but 1.76 million have celiac disease, according to a study published inJAMA Internal Medicine this week.

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys showed from 2009 to 2014, participants who reported having celiac didn’t exceed 0.77%. During the same period, participants who didn’t have the disease, but avoided gluten more than tripled.

study released in July, said those without celiac who experience abdominal pain, bloating and fatigue after eating wheat and related products could have a weakened intestinal barrier, another reason they might go gluten-free.

Registered dietitian Judi Adams, president of the Wheat Foods Council, previously told USA TODAY some people choose the diet because of a non-celiac gluten sensitivity or irritable bowel syndrome, "but the people who are using it as a cleansing diet or calorie-controlled diet are using it as a fad diet, and as we all know fad diets do not work longterm." Actually, she said, people often gain weight on gluten-free diets.

Gluten-free diets were most popular with those ages 20 to 39, females and non-Hispanic whites, lead study author Dr. Hyun-seok Kim told Live Science.

This study is the first to use national data to track people with celiac and those following a gluten-free diet without a medical need to do so, Kim told Live Science.

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