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What’s the Big Deal With Gluten?

By Deirnesa Jefferson

Gluten has become a really hot topic in recent years ; with the addition of a variety of gluten free options in restaurants as well as grocery stores the once obscure term has now practically become a household name. But many people are still left with questions regarding gluten and why it’s so important.

What is gluten?gluten-main

Gluten is actually a protein that occurs in a number of grains such as wheat, barley, rye and oats. It is a mixture of two proteins that is responsible for the elastic texture of dough.

Why is gluten free so popular now?

In the past decade there has been an increase in the diagnosis of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. This increased awareness has sparked attention even for those who do not have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity. There are also people who attest to the health benefits of a gluten free diet even though this has not been scientifically validated yet.

Is eating gluten free healthier?

Many people perceive that eating a gluten free diet is healthier but in actuality that’s not necessarily true. If you do not have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease eating a gluten free diet may actually be depriving you of vitamins, minerals and fiber. A gluten free diet comes with the risk of acquiring nutritional decencies as a result of eating gluten free products that tend to be low in a wide range of important nutrients, including B vitamins,calcium, iron, zinc,magnesium, and fiber. Peter Green, MD, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University says “ There’s little point in taking that risk unless you genuinely have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.”

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