Should you go gluten-free?

The gluten-free market has expanded in the past few years even though approximately one percent of American has a gluten allergy. According consumer research firm NDP, 30 percent of adults that have tried a gluten-free diet in the past have may or may not have an allergy or sensitivity.

Check out my story about the gluten-free boom in NYC and a personal story about celiac disease here.

Whether people have the allergy, celiac disease, or just avoid gluten for health reasons, Americans are spending $4.2 billion on gluten free foods. Jimmy Kimmel recently set up an experiment to see if people even knew what gluten was. The results were pretty funny.

Many people who do have a gluten allergy or intolerance have become annoyed that a gluten-free diet is now a trend. They believe this takes away from the seriousness of their condition.

An anonymous waitress took to the social media site Ticklr to post this following comment that has now gone viral: “You’re on nothing more than a high-powered Atkins diet, and while it’s great that you’re feeling healthier, it’s not great that you blame the discrepancy between your previous and current state of health on a fictional allergy.”

But because many people are buying gluten-free products, the amount of products in the market have expanded, giving more food options for those who truly suffer from the autoimmune disease or an allergy. 52 percent of restaurant chains in the U.S. will begin to offer more gluten-free foods. The industry is expected to grow in volume by 9.9 percent, a report for Research and Market stated. The industry’s annual revenue growth is predicted to be 11.4 percent from 2013 to 2018.

Do you know what gluten is?

What exactly is gluten?

It is a protein that is found in grains like wheat, rye, and barely that  gives elastiticity to dough. Gluten is not harmful, unless you have an intolerance, which causes an abnormal immune reaction when the gluten is broken down during digestion. Those with celiac disease suffer from damage to the lining of the small intestine after consuming gluten.

The FDA has now established criteria for using the term “gluten-free” to include less than 20ppm of gluten. “This standard ‘gluten-free’ definition will eliminate uncertainty about how food producers label their products and will assure people with celiac disease that foods labeled ‘gluten-free’ meet a clear standard established and enforced by FDA,” said Michael R. Taylor, J.D., deputy FDA commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine.

Should you go gluten-free?

If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, an allergy, or intolerance than absolutely.  Those who continue to eat gluten will have vitamin deficiencies because they body cannot absorb vitamins from foods. Continuing to eat gluten can also cause leaky gut syndrome and even cancer.

If you don’t have an intolerance or allergy, than there is no scientific study saying that you are better off. Those who cut out bread, and other gluten filled foods, have more room in their diet for fruits and vegetables. However, just because the item says gluten-free doesn’t mean they are healthier. Gluten-free products can still be high in fat, calories, and carbs.

What are your thoughts on this trend? Do you follow a gluten-free diet? If so, why?

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