At first, we thought there may be a possibility that those who are eating gluten-free were simply riding the recent trend wave. Turns out, there's a bit more to the story.
Wheat and grain-based products are loved by many people around the world. We can't get enough of crackers, bread, cereals and (let's not forget one of our favorites) pasta. The thought of a warm bowl of pasta slathered in homemade tomato sauce with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese tickles our fancy, but the results are in, and let's just say they are not pretty.
Gluten, a protein composite of gliadin and glutenin found in wheat and grains, may be addictive. Perhaps this explains the uncontrollable cravings for carbs many of us experience. This news was hard for us to digest, but not nearly as hard as gluten is on our intestines.
Since the 1950s, when scientists began cross-breeding wheat to make it grow faster, we've seen a few issues arise. Wheat is not as healthy as it used to be. U.S. plant scientist, Norman Borlaug, who won the the Nobel Prize for his work in wheat hybridization may have introduced some compounds that aren't exactly friendly to our bodies. In fact, there are proteins found in today's wheat that scientists can't trace back to the original plant.
What could this mean for you? Unfortunately, digestion issues along with a slew of potential diseases, such as celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and IBS. These problems can pertain to anyone, not just to those with severe gluten reactions or celiac disease.
A reported 1.8 million Americans suffer from celiac disease, with an additional 1.6 million undiagnosed and 18 million who have extreme gluten sensitivity, also known as "non-celiac gluten sensitivity." Gluten: we hate to love it and we love to hate it. It helps give so many of the foods we love that sensational chewy texture, but is it really worth it?
For more wheat and gluten-free facts, check out our slideshow above.