Gluten Free Food: Fad or Medical Necessity?

Published Date : Jun 27, 2016

Amid the growing awareness about healthy and nutritious food, gluten has been termed as a dietary villain. Though gluten is harmful only for patients suffering from celiac disease, an increasing number of people are focusing on gluten free diet which is presumed to be healthy. Aggressive marketing strategies, promotion by celebrities, and the availability of gluten free foods across grocery stores have immensely supported the growth of the global gluten free food market. However, the growing popularity of gluten free food products especially amid the people who are not intolerant to gluten has raised concerns among nutritionists.

Is Gluten Free Diet Really Helpful for People not suffering from Celiac Disease?

Though there has been no scientific evidence to prove that gluten free diet is helpful for people who are not gluten intolerant, some experts have pointed out that relying on a gluten free diet might have detrimental effects on the health of such people. Gluten is found in cereals such as rye, wheat, and barley. While patients suffering from celiac disease show symptoms of gluten intolerance, the protein causes no harm to normal people. About 1.6 mn people across America follow a gluten free diet even if they have not been diagnosed with gluten intolerance. Celiac disease or severe intolerance to gluten is not highly prevalent and is found in 1 among 133 people. According to a study by the Monash University in Australia, there is no evidence of specific effects of gluten in patients suffering from non-celiac gluten insensitivity. A person following a gluten free diet might have lower levels of essential vitamins and minerals in body.