Gluten is a binding protein that is found in wheat, barely and rye. One of the latest health trends that has sparked a huge following is "going gluten-free."
Why would people choose to eat this way?
Some individuals suffer from celiac disease and gluten-intolerance and truly need to avoid gluten due to the unpleasant symptoms and health hazards it can cause.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of nutrients. According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, an estimated one in 133 people suffers from the condition.
However, millions of people are following the gluten-free diet in hopes of losing weight, or they're under the false impression that avoiding gluten is healthier.
This, of course, is music to the ears of manufacturers who create gluten-free foods.
How does the food industry play a role in marketing gluten-free foods?
According to Mintel, a market research company, gluten-free sales reached $10.5 billion last year and are estimated to reach $15 billion in sales in 2016. In hopes to boost sales, manufacturing companies whose products are naturally gluten-free are now playing into the gluten-free product craze by labeling their foods as such.
Are there any pitfalls of going gluten-free?
It's important to know that just because a food is labeled gluten-free does NOT mean it is healthier. If you're swapping your pasta, bread and baked goods for gluten-free versions, you're not only paying more money, you're also ingesting food items which are void of important nutrients and may actually contain unhealthy additives.
In fact, many gluten-free food products lack fiber, minerals and vitamins but add extra sugar and fat. Since gluten resembles a glue-like property, foods that lack gluten need a replacement to help bind foods together.
What other myths are associated with going gluten-free?
Sarah Corey shares what gluten is, who benefits from the gluten-free diet, and the hidden dangers of going gluten-free if you don't need to.