High gluten cereals are the result of intense hybridisation dating back only about 4000 years, so they are not part of the diet that humans evolved to eat. More than one Briton in ten avoids eating wheat.
As such, many people who do not have the defining antibodies for coeliac disease find that eating gluten rich food can produce a wide variety of symptoms, often within a few hours.
The Italian Celiac Disease Association together with the Italian Coeliac Foundation have started to explore the epidemiology and possible causes of non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). Looking at 38 Italian centres, they identified 486 patients with suspected NCGS within a one year period (Volta et al., 2014).
The female:male ratio was 5.4 to 1, and the mean age was 38 years (range 3-81 years). Symptoms ranged across every bodily function, from numb legs and mouth ulcers to a rumbling belly and a foggy mind.
Volta, U., Bardella, M.T., Calabro, A., Troncone, R., Corazza, G.R. & The Study Group for Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. (2014) An Italian Prospective Multicenter Survey on Patients Suspected of Having Non-celiac Gluten Sensitivity. BMC Medicine. 12(85), doi:10.1186/1741-7015-12-85.
Reference (Whole Article)
BMJ (2014) Fondness for the Gooseberry and Other Stories. BMJ 2014;349:g4302.