More than 55 diseases have been linked to gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. It’s estimated that 99% of the people who have either gluten intolerance or celiac disease are never diagnosed.
A gluten-free nutrition plan seems to be the latest eating trend. The question remains as to whether being “gluten intolerant” is a fad or if it is a real concern in our fast-food, over-processed, sugar and wheat-laden eating habits.
According to the latest estimates, about 1% of the population has celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that makes it difficult to digest food, and another 10% of the population may be suffering from non-celiac gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity. While that 10% number may seem low to some, it is higher than most in the scientific community had originally thought.
Gluten is the protein found in wheat, and there is no scientific evidence to support that eliminating gluten from the diet has any benefit other than to those with celiac disease or an intolerance to gluten. By some estimates, the sales of gluten-free products have grown by nearly 70%. That means a lot of people are eating gluten-free for non-health related reasons.
In fact, according to recent poll conducted by The NDP Group, 30% percent of adults said they wanted to “cut down or be free of gluten.” This is a problem since whole wheat is considered one of our major sources in dietary fiber.