"Gluten free." These two words have been plastered on just about every food product possible. Gluten is a mix of various proteins found in wheat and other grains such as barley, rye, and oats. Approximately one percent of Americans have coeliac disease, an illness that causes discomfort in the intestines after eating gluten-containing products. There is some uncertainty among the scientific community about whether other disorders promote a gluten intolerance, such as irritable bowel disease, but it is estimated any other disease contributing to the problem would affect less than one percent of Americans.
So why is "gluten free" written on seemingly everything? It's written on things like turkey, milk, and lettuce, all of which would never have contained gluten in the first place. Nowadays, there is a lot of pressure on farmers and the food industry to be transparent. People are incredibly skeptical about things like GMOs, artificial growth hormones, and pesticides (see later articles about these topics), so to inform their customers in the best way possible and seem healthy, marketers are stamping food items with all that they don't contain. It makes customers feel more informed about what they are eating. Add to this, labels that are green and nature-like, and a mother will feel like she's feeding her children something healthier than it is.
I've come across individuals in my life who say, "Today, I am going gluten free." This statement is ignorant of science, and inconsiderate to your checking account. Products that would typically contain gluten are made with things like coconut flour to keep out all the grain. Naturally, the price of this item is going to be more expensive because of the ingredients in it. Believe me -- you're wasting your money if you simply decide to cut gluten out of your diet.
Scientists are also pretty skeptical about how healthy it is to cut out gluten entirely. You've seen the bottom of that food pyramid all of us '90s babies know so well. Six servings of grains are what we all need each day. Cutting out gluten-containing products sets people up to have B-vitamin deficiencies and fiber deficiency. While it is possible to live healthily without eating gluten, you're making it much harder on yourself.
Finally, we hear over and over, "I went gluten free, and now I feel fantastic." This may very well be true. People who decide to go gluten free are watching the foods they eat. They are no longer going to McDonald's or grabbing a microwave dinner because none of those have gluten free written on them. Believe me, it isn't because you're eating those gluten-free, dairy-free, organic rice cakes. It's because you're finally watching what is going in your body. So how about instead of insulting people with coeliac disease by eating all of the products they need to live comfortably, we watch what we eat, work out, and we'll naturally feel better.