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Is It Gluten Intolerance or Something Else?

Posted on 02/28/2012

Gluten-free products are turning up all over the place these days. Even traditional items that contain no gluten naturally are being marketed as gluten-free at a price twice or three times the regular price. It reminds me of a few years ago when the low carb craze swept this country and put people at risk of kidney problems from those protein heavy diets. Store shelves were stocked back then with low carb items. It truly was a marketers delight...that is, until that fad soon passed and they were left with an inventory of useless products nobody wanted. 

Is Gluten-Free a Fad?

I'm afraid we're in the midst of yet another big fad. This time it's the gluten-free craze. But it isn't just impacting those who are seeking weight loss.  This time it seems the entire U.S. is being marketed to at a tune of more than $6.2 billion -- that's BILLION with a "B" -- of gluten-free products that were sold last year. That's an increase of 16.9 percent. Traditionally, only those with celiac disease were the ones who bought such food because their bodies cannot break down gluten. Now, it seems every Tom, Dick and Harry is doing so for "better health?" It is even being sold as a miracle cure-all for everything from ADHD to eczema to even weight loss!

There is a true medical condition called celiac disease that suffers experience true distress from consuming products with gluten. I truly sympathize with those afflicted with celiac disease. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be for them. However, the numbers of those with the disease are much less than what marketers want you to believe and much less than some trade groups are citing...17 million Americans with gluten-sensitivity. Really? There is no official data to support those numbers. If we don't wise up, we'll be banning items, such as whole grains, that we need for proper nutrition.

There is no way that every person in this country needs to avoid healthy gluten items that include whole grains. Whole grains are wonderful and nourishing. Not to mention they are part of a healthy, balanced diet. 

Get a Proper Diagnosis

Please do not fall prey to the fad. If you have not been diagnosed by your family practitioner as having celiac disease then do not self diagnose. Even if you think you may have gluten-sensitivity, you may not. You may really be sensitive to other additives used in processed foods. Try whole foods and see how your body reacts...after the initial shock of eating unprocessed foods you may see it was not gluten from wheat and whole grains rather something else. You may end up saving a great deal of money too. 

Use your thinking rights and don't get caught up in the hype. Understand nutrition and what your body needs to function properly. You will be happier and healthier in the long run.

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Seattle Sutton, BSN, RN

She made healthy eating her mission in life long before anyone else did, in hopes of helping her own obese father. A registered nurse by training and entrepreneur at heart, she lives, eats and breathes everything about healthy eating and helping to improve people’s eating habits and overall health. She enjoys never having to bother with grocery shopping, cooking and counting calories. Her favorite SSHE meal, although it’s hard to pick just one, is the Potato Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Sauce.

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