While celiac disease was once a relatively little known dietary condition, it has become considerably more mainstream in recent years. Even those who aren’t familiar with the term itself have no doubt encountered a fair few gluten-free products at their local grocery store. In fact, these items are becoming increasingly popular, as many consumers believe them to be a healthier option.

And, according to a recent piece by The New York Times, a gluten-free diet may be beneficial for a number of people who don’t necessarily have celiac disease, but are still sensitive to the substance. The source reports that celiac specialists acknowledged this condition and identified it as non-celiac gluten sensitivity at an informational panel in 2011.

Based on statistics from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, an estimated 3 million people in America are living with the condition. The nutrition experts who identified non-celiac gluten sensitivity, however, were unable to hazard a guess at how many people may simply not be able to stomach this specific combination of starch and proteins.

“[Non-celiac gluten sensitivity] is less a diagnosis than a description,” NYT reports. ” [It refers to] someone who does not have celiac, but whose health improves on a gluten-free diet and worsens again if gluten is eaten. It could even be more than one illness.”

Doctors and nutritionists appear to be on the fence regarding gluten-free diets for those who have not been diagnosed with celiac – with some dismissing the movement as a mere “fad” and others stating that the human body is ultimately not equipped to process gluten.

If you’re concerned that your diet may be keeping your from aging gracefully, the anti-aging doctors at Longevity Centres of America help. We offer food sensitivity testing and can provide guidance on the right foods and supplements to help promote aging longevity.