The gluten-free diet: just a fad? | Healthy Living | DW | 05.02.2016
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Healthy Living

The gluten-free diet: just a fad?

These days, gluten-free nutrition is very trendy. Many people think a gluten-free diet will make them slimmer and more healthy. But for whom was it originally conceived, and for whom does it actually make sense?

After eating just a few grams of wheat flour containing gluten, people suffering from the condition called celiac disease become ill and have severe intestinal problems. They have to avoid gluten all their lives. No wonder sufferers are glad there are more and more gluten-free foods available to buy. Gluten is a mixture of proteins that occurs in common grains such as wheat, spelt, rye and barley, and makes us able to bake with them. It's a natural ingredient that gives dough elasticity.

In addition to celiac disease sufferers, for a number of years there have been people who, because of indeterminate intestinal complaints, have been termed non-celiac gluten-sensitive. This can now be diagnosed with a blood test. For these patients, a temporary gluten-free diet really does make sense. Within six months to a year, the intestine can completely regenerate itself. But a gluten-free diet isn't advantageous for healthy people. It's not a healthier diet, nor will it help them lose weight. All the fuss about gluten is largely based on the fact that consumers don't even know what gluten actually is.