Do you need to be gluten-free?

gluten free Gluten-free diets have become increasingly popular over the last few years — but are they really necessary? A recent study reports that the number of Americans following a gluten-free diet has tripled since 2009, but the number who have celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder requiring a gluten-free diet, has stayed the same.

Some who follow a gluten-free diet could have non-celiac gluten sensitivity, in which gastrointestinal problems improve when avoiding gluten. However, many also believe that being gluten-free is a healthy diet choice, a fad that many experts say simply isn’t necessary. In fact, gluten hides in many foods you wouldn’t expect, such as gum and potato chips, making it tough to be truly gluten-free.

If you’re considering a gluten-free diet, the researchers suggest first consulting with a gastroenterologist or nutritionist to discuss whether this lifestyle change will benefit your health. Additionally, be aware that avoiding gluten can be a difficult and expensive choice.