Is "gluten-free" just another food fad? Well, the answer is complicated. Dr. Aaron Carroll takes a look at the evidence below, and comes to a few conclusions. First, there are some conditions, like celiac disease or wheat allergies, which definitely mandate a gluten-free diet. However, while these conditions are probably underdiagnosed, they still only make up a few percent of the population.
Most people who have forsworn gluten, by contrast, supposedly have gluten sensitivity, a less serious condition. A small study a few years back gave some evidence of this condition, leading to a lot of media coverage and huge sales of gluten-free products. But in a classic example of the decline effect, subsequent studies by one of the original study's researchers have seriously undermined the original result. For most people who aren't diagnosed with celiac or wheat allergy, gluten is probably no big deal. Check out the full explanation in the video below. --Ryan Cooper
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