Gluten Free Food: Benefits and Myths

Gluten free dieting is pretty popular and many are following without really knowing what it is.

After years of sitting at ignored shelves in the healthy section, gluten free food items are now the biggest sellers in supermarkets and can be seen everywhere. Some might be doing it to follow the trend but others are doing it because of their benefits. But beware, some of the benefits are not really true.

With the popularity of these items on the rise, food producers are displaying them more and more to boost their sales.

One of these food producers is General Mills. The company is releasing gluten free versions of its five most popular Cheerio products next month. This due in part to the fact that very small amounts of gluten sometimes make it into nonglutinous foods, mainly during production. Many of these items are produced in the same place.


The items are flying off the shelves so fast that food producers around the world are putting gluten free labels on items that don’t have any. In some grocery stores you can spot gluten free eggs, poultry, meat and vegetables.

While this idea may not be the greatest of all time, market data shows that the labels with gluten free are actually increasing sales, giving companies a reason to keep adding them to other products.

Increase

A report published by Packaged Facts last year showed that the sales of gluten-free food in the United States went up 34 percent annually in the five years leading up to 2014, when they reached a whopping $973 million.

The growth will not stop there, it is expected to reduce to 19.2 percent annually but still increase through 2019. If estimates are correct, it will have grown 140 percent by that year. If you compare it to normal packaged food, which will increase just 3 percent, it is a huge number.

Even more interesting is the fact that consumers pay almost double for these items. Gluten is the latest dietary component to be disliked by society. Carbohydrates, cholesterol and trans-fats have all gone through the same thing. While the three I mentioned just now have lost the spotlight, the crowd seems to have embraced gluten free items. Even athletes are getting into this, advertising these products. But in the end, it is the everyday consumer who keeps increasing the popularity of these items.

Celiac Disease and Myths

There are many consumers who believe this is an accepted weight loss strategy, others that just see it as a diet, and a few who have been diagnosed with celiac disease. This is supported by a Mintel study published in September of 2014, where Mintel food industry analyst Amanda Topper noted that “82 percent of consumers who eat gluten free foods, or used to eat them, have not been diagnosed with celiac disease, including 44 percent who eat those foods for reasons other than gluten intolerance or sensitivity.”

AisleAccording to a report published by Nielsen earlier this year, this is just a generational trend. Many of them don’t even know what gluten is, but are still buying these items.

At the end of the day, these products are good for those with celiac disease, but don’t expect them to do miracles with other problems. This is what dietitian and certified diabetes educator Andrea Chernus said about the topic, “It all depends on individual circumstance. Obviously, those suffering from celiac disease will benefit immensely from going gluten-free, but there are several other ideas floating around that are largely baseless. Weight loss from going gluten-free is one such farce. While going gluten-free may prompt people to eat healthier, many gluten-free substitutes are high in calories, fat content and sugar. Consuming these products will certainly not help with weight loss, and in some cases, may even contribute to weight gain.”

Do you buy these items regularly? If so, which ones? Let us know in the comments.




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