Celiac disease is a serious medical condition that can have long-term medical complications if sufferers do not maintain a strict, gluten free diet. While it is often referred to as a gluten allergy or intolerance, it is actually an autoimmune disorder that affects the small intestine. It is reported that 1 in 100 people suffer from the disease worldwide.
Gluten sensitivity is a condition with similar symptoms to celiac disease – including abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea – when sufferers have gluten in their diet. Unlike celiacs, however, sufferers of gluten sensitivity do not experience the small intestine damage that celiacs face. Gluten sensitivity is a topic of controversy amongst medical professionals, with many arguing that the condition is, in fact, not real. Of course, the legitimacy of gluten sensitivity is just one symptom of the curious case of gluten disorders in the United States.
Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye, and as a result, is prevalent in food and drink such as bread, beer, pasta, cereal, sauces, dressings and soup. For this reason, it is easy to see why it was quite difficult to maintain a strict, gluten free diet… Until recently.
Despite the fact that celiac disease only affects up to 1% of the population, it is now estimated that nearly 30% of the U.S. population actively try to avoid gluten. There are now successful, Michelin-star restaurants with entirely gluten free menus, and many products in the grocery store aisle proudly display a “gluten free” sticker. Tolerance of gluten intolerance has become the latest trend of the food industry, and has brought with it a multi-billion dollar market.
Gluten free has become synonymous with healthy and organic, and has helped inspire other non-grain diets, such as the paleo diet. The paleo diet is based on the presumed diet of early humans, including seafood, fruit and vegetables, and avoiding meat, grains and dairy. It has become very popular with naturalistic communities, and some swear by it as the healthiest diet they’ve ever had. Other, more legitimate healthcare professionals, are skeptical of such primal-eating trends.
Ultimately, though, it seems like a good thing that gluten free products are now more readily available, if only for the benefit of legitimate sufferers of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. There are plenty of medical conditions that could benefit from the same, widespread awareness. While some of the diets and trends associated with gluten disorders border on ridiculous, they do show that society is increasingly taking an interest in health and wellbeing, and that is positive sign.
If you’re trying to locate a source of gluten free produce, inquire with free, online concierge service EZBZ today, to see what gluten free options are available locally to you.