More Americans Lean Gluten-Free, And Here’s Why

Americans are consuming less gluten than ever before, but why?

Gluten is the name for the proteins found in wheat, and other grains such as barley, rye, and oat, and is found in most products Americans consume.

While the known gluten culprits are obvious (such as bread and pasta), gluten is hidden in everything from salad dressings to soups.

More and more restaurants are developing “gluten-free” menus as an attempt to draw in patrons and keep up with the market trend. Grocery stores have shelves and aisles dedicated to those who adopt a gluten-free lifestyle.

But is the gluten-free lifestyle a quick trend, or a new way of life?

As more research is done on the effects of gluten on the body, health conscious Americans are making the choice to limit or eliminate gluten completely from their diet.

While there are Americans who suffer from Celiac disease (an immune reaction to eating gluten) and have no choice but to eliminate gluten from their diet, recent studies show even those Americans who don’t have Celiac disease are still refusing to consume gluten.

US News reported:

“The number of Americans following a gluten-free diet tripled between 2009 and 2014, but diagnoses of celiac disease remained stable during that same period, the researchers found.

It’s possible that decreased gluten consumption could be contributing to the plateau in celiac disease, the study authors said.

For their study, Kim and his colleagues reviewed data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, a regular survey of American health and diet conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The team identified more than 22,000 survey participants — aged 6 and older — who had blood tests for celiac disease. The survey volunteers were asked whether they had been diagnosed with celiac disease or were following a gluten-free diet.

“The therapy for celiac disease is being on a gluten-free diet,” Kim said.

 Based on their analysis, the researchers estimated there are around 1.76 million people with celiac disease in the United States. About 2.7 million more people adhere to a gluten-free diet even though they don’t have celiac disease, the findings showed.

Around a half percent of survey participants reported being on a gluten-free diet in 2009-2010. By 2013-2014, that number was closing in on 2 percent, the investigators found.

The results suggest that the gluten-free diet has become something of a fad, Kim said.

“Someone who cares about health, they may read that a gluten-free diet might be helpful in terms of their general health,” he said.

People also may be adopting a gluten-free diet because they suffer from non-celiac gluten sensitivity, with gastrointestinal symptoms that improve when they lay off the gluten, Kim suggested.”

Research has shown the harmful effects gluten can have on the body, even to those without Celiac disease.

In fact, many people are sensitive to gluten, but continue to consume it at high levels, wreaking havoc on the body.

Gluten is said to cause inflammation in the body and can cause the immune system to “attack” the gluten, which then aggravates the gut, joints, organs, and even the brain.

And inflammation in the gut is known to cause “leaky gut syndrome” which causes harmful substances to leak into the bloodstream.

Eating too much gluten can also cause weight gain and hinder weight loss, due to the inflammation of the body.

While the solution is to eliminate gluten completely, health experts still recommend eating a natural diet, composed of “real food” such as fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, and grass-fed meat, instead of loading up on gluten-free substitutes.

Processed food is still processed food, with or without the gluten.

Think you have a gluten sensitivity? Try going 100 percent gluten-free and see how your body responds.

If you find you digest food better and have an overall feeling of improved health, then join the millions of other Americans who live a gluten-free lifestyle.

Do you adopt a gluten-free lifestyle?

Do you think gluten-free products are just a fad, or here to stay for good?

Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.