Gluten-free foods are really popular. They are really expensive yet the demand for them is strong. In fact Americans spend about 4.2 billion dollars a year to be gluten-free.
This puzzles us because being gluten-free is not necessary for most people. Most of us are not sensitive to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.
Certainly some people are extremely sensitive to gluten. In some cases eating gluten could actually kill. them. We are referring to the 1 per cent of the population who have celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder where ingestion of gluten causes damage to the small intestine.
There are also a small number of people who do not digest gluten well. There is no good scientific evidence that this is a real medical problem although there are a few clinical studies that imply changing the diet to gluten-free improved symptoms in these people. Yet this improvement has not been definitely shown to be more then a placebo effect.
So do you really need to be gluten-free. The answer for most of us in no. We just have to eat more real foods and we need to stop eating the starches and junk foods. Save the gluten-free for those who really need it, and at the same time save yourself some money.