In 2010, Americans spent $2.6 billion on gluten-free products, amounting to a 30 percent increase in spending, than four years earlier. Why the spike in gluten-free products? Gluten is gluten a protein found in wheat, oats, rye, or barley. For some it seems to be one of the newest dietary fads gaining momentum by improving digestion among adopters. Others are born with celiac disease or developed an allergic reaction to gluten over time.
There are nearly three million Americans with celiac disease, a disease of the digestive system where the lining of the small intestines becomes damaged. The symptoms vary from person to person but often present themselves in the form of gas, bloating, stomach pains, abnormal stools, weight loss, fatigue and weakness and vomiting.
Even if individuals don’t have celiac disease, eliminating gluten from their diets has been proven to make many people feel better. “Those people may be legitimately gluten-sensitive. Or perhaps they're simply eating a healthier diet,” says Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist Joseph Murray, M.D., who notes that junk food tends to have high amounts of gluten. To see if you benefit from a gluten-free diet try eliminating gluten completely for two weeks, then reintroduce it and see if you feel any difference.