From specialized food aisles at supermarkets to separate menus at restaurants, the gluten-free craze is everywhere. And don't expect it to go away anytime soon—market research firm Mintel predicts the $10.5 billion dollar industry will skyrocket 48 percent to $15.6 billion in sales by 2016.
Great for the 1 in 133 Americans who have celiac disease and the additional 18 million who have non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), a gluten intolerance. Both must avoid gluten—the protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, triticale, and rye—or suffer bloating, gas, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, and other stomach woes.
But for the other 93 percent of the population, "there really is no reason to eliminate gluten from your diet," says Laura Moore, R.D., director of the dietetic internship program at the University of Texas School of Public Health. In fact, if you're like three-quarters of this group that Mintel reports eats gluten-free foods because they think they are healthier, cutting out gluten could mean you're cutting out these key nutrients that keep your health, energy, and metabolism at their best. [Tweet this tip!]