Gluten-free: Trend or Fad?

I recently came across a discussion thread on LinkedIn debating whether gluten-free free diets are trend or fad. Yikes! some heated comments going back and forth!

Here are a couple quotes that I’ve pulled out:

The current interest in gluten-free foods is a fad. For some reason, many people have gotten the idea that ridding gluten from their diet will help them lose weight. In fact, the scientific evidence points in the opposite direction.” – Alan, PhD Nutrition

Unfortunately, I think it’s a fad, which is a shame because millions of people suffer unknowingly from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.” – Josie

I have celiac disease and it is definitely not a fad. It is nice to find convenience products that I can eat. The problem is that they are usually twice as expensive (at least).” – Clara, MS, RD, RN (and lots of other letters)

I have clients coming in having a trainer tell them to stay off gluten…. the food manufacturers are the benefactors of this, NOT the consumer.” – Pamela

Gluten-free diets are an obvious need for Celiacs and those with a gluten allergy or intolerance. I’ve personally met a number of parents with autistic children who swear by the change they’ve witnessed after putting their kids on a gluten-free (and casein-free) diet. A 2008 study from Arthritis Research & Therapy also showed that a vegan gluten-free diet can help reduce inflammation among patients suffering alleviate rheumatoid arthritis. And gluten-free diets have also helped some MS patients manage their symptoms.

But at the same time, my post office lady (who knows me well now from shipping lots of gluten-free books) asked me if it’s a good idea to go gluten-free to resolve thyroid problems. Apparently her daughter has hypothyroidism and her friend said a gf diet would probably help. My answer was “maybe” and “she should go see a doctor and a naturopath.” So, in some ways, I guess comments like this make me feel like there’s some fad in the gluten-free “movement,” if that’s what you want to call the recent rise in its popularity.

What do you think?

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