These days, it seems like everyone is “gluten intolerant.” If you do not already know, gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and many other processed products. But is this really something to avoid and is gluten-free “healthier” like many people seem to say it is? The truth is, the only people who absolutely need to avoid gluten are those with the autoimmune disease called celiac disease, along with those who have wheat allergies or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. With many people avoiding gluten, it may seem like these sensitivities and celiac disease are very common. In actuality, celiac disease only effects 1 percent of the American population and only 6 percent of the population suffers from gluten sensitivity.
So why is around 40 percent of Americans avoiding gluten? Mostly, because many adults believe that going gluten-free is beneficial for them. Many would be surprised to find out that gluten-free snacks and products are higher in fat, sodium, and sugars to offset the loss of the taste that occurs when the gluten is removed. It has also been found that there are less nutrients in gluten-free products.
A study was done on 392 participants who believed they were gluten intolerant. It was found that 86 percent of the participants could actually tolerate gluten. There are many people who believe they are gluten intolerant, when they most likely are not. People may believe they are making a healthy decision by switching to gluten-free, when in all reality, they are adding more unnecessary fat, sodium, and sugar to their diet.