Gluten Free: Fad or Fact?

By Steven Parker, Sustainable Plant Systems, Spring 2015 graduate

Gluten free is something that we hear about a lot lately.  Companies are putting out a lot of new products that claim to be gluten free.  Today you can pretty much find anything that has a gluten-free version.  There is a big movement right now for a gluten-free diet.  My question, though, is this just a fad diet that people are jumping on the bandwagon, and will it go to the wayside in the future?  Or is this a trend towards healthier humans.  I believe that the gluten free diet is a fad, and in this blog I will explain why I think it is.

Before I talk about why I think it is a fad, there is a medical reason to be gluten-free.   Some people have celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that attacks the small intestine.  Gluten-free diet is best for this disease.  It is estimated that 1% of adults in the world have celiac’s.  People may have problems digesting gluten.  Similar to lactose, it is estimated that 75% of adults have some problem digesting lactose.  A majority of this adults though have very little problem with gluten though.

One of the biggest claims of a gluten-free diet is that it will help you lose weight, along with other things.  I am a big fan of Jimmy Kimmel and recently he did a video where he went out to ask people what gluten was.  No one knew what it was they knew where it came from but not what it was (> view video) .  I believe this diet fad will only last as long until the next big thing comes around.

This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.

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