Why the Billion-Dollar Gluten-Free Industry is Secretly Laughing at All of Us

Gluten, the protein-complex mainly found in wheat products, has become a recent villain of approximately 29% of American's, according to the NPD Group. Is all the hype legitimate though? According to the University of Chicago's Celiac Disease Center, only three out of every 133 Americans are actually medically diagnosed with gluten-intolerance. So, could we just be deflecting our ailments on to poor ol’ gluten?

Gluten-intolerance (or celiac disease) is a legitimate medical condition and frustrating condition that irritates the small intestine and causes symptoms which range from diarrhea to nutrient malabsorption. We are not discounting that. But gluten is found in the majority of processed foods which also contain other potential irritants to the body: chemicals, preservatives, food dyes, high fructose corn syrup, refined (white) grains. When someone cuts out “gluten-containing” foods, they experience feeling cleaner, more energized, and healthier...but was it really the gluten that was getting them down?

Blogger Elisa Strauss, has struggled with her own personal battle with celiac disease for fourteen years. She spoke out against the gluten-free diet trend in a recent post on Jezebel, complaining about everything from her mother's diagnosis, to consumers eating a gluten-free diet 'just cause' (the gluten-free diet ranked #2 on Time’s list of 2012’s top-ten food trends), to the strain it has had on her financially.

So why in the world would a non-celiac subject themselves to such torture? Nobody is quite sure. But people keep getting hoodwinked and, in the United States, the gluten-free food industry is expected to expand to a 6.6 billion-dollar industry by 2017, according research group Packaged Facts.

Here are some of the more ridiculous gluten-free products we found -- mainly because most of them barely had detectable traces of gluten in them to begin with -- if at all. Seriously, just eat more veggies:

Sausages

Gluten Free Diet Trend

www.alfrescoallnatural.com

You were not really eating sausages if your sausages had gluten in them.
$4.99-ish

Chips

Gluten Free Diet Trend

www.bouldercanyonfoods.com

Potato chips should really be made of only potatoes, no?
$2.60

Fruit Snacks

Gluten Free Diet Trend

http://www.welchsfruitsnacks.com

I've never had a fruit snack with gluten in it but that sounds gross.
$7.96 for 2 packs

Makeup

Gluten Free Diet Trend

www.afterglowcosmetics.com

Shouldn’t be eating your makeup, anyway.
$26.00

Cranberry Juice

Gluten Free Diet Trend

www.wegmans.com

It's juice. All 100% juice should just be juice. This gluten-free stuff isn't so hard afterall. 
$1.99

 

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