Celiac cases have gone up fourfold since the 1950s.  But why?  Why would celiac disease be more prevalent now than before?  That is a question being asked since the Mayo Clinic research was published in 2009.

Articles by the National Institutes for Health and by USA Today quoted experts speculating that varieties of wheat  could possibly be the culprit.

Now some scientists are chiming in– trying to debunk the theory.  Published in the January 2013 issue of the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry,  researchers went on record saying that gluten content in wheat (because of wheat breeding) isn’t causing the increased number of cases of celiac disease.

Scientists said, “The results do not support the likelihood that wheat breeding has increased the protein content (proportional to gluten content) of wheat in the United States.”  An article in  BakeryandSnacks.com has scientists speculating that the use of vital wheat gluten may have had an impact as has better diagnostics for celiac.

Another common theory mentioned in both the NIH and USAToday articles is the “Hygiene Hypothesis” which asks if our increasingly hygienic world is causing more people to be more susceptible to diseases like celiac.

My initial impression when the original study came out in 2009 from  the Mayo Clinic is that while I think there is a lot of room for improvement on diagnosing celiac, I do think celiac is more well known in the last decade and diagnoses are going up as a result.  But my theory doesn’t hold up for an increase over 50-some years.  What do you think?    If you read the articles linked in this post, you will get more information on the various theories out there.  I am afraid in this case it is likely only time will tell.

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