I am seeing more gluten free foods, are they healthier?
Gluten is a grain protein. (I find it a bit ironic that in our protien crazy culture a protein is under scrutiny, but I suppose it may be because it is a component of a grain, which ultimately means carbs. Carb does not deserve the four letter word status that it carries…but that is a topic for another day). I suspect that people know they should be avoiding cinnamon rolls; but, if they are gluten free, they think that they are healthier. Not the case. Gluten free foods have protein removed and often added sugar and/or fat to replace the texture. These foods are not fortified in many cases and so have lower vitamin content. Gluten free foods are not inherantly unhealthy, but it is a very restrictive and difficult diet to live with. I have noticed that many non-bread products have added gluten free labels on the front as advertisements. Sabra humus, which I have eaten for years, now says gluten free on the lid. I find it a bit amusing. Humus is made of beans, there were never grains in humus, so nothing has changed. That is when you know something has become a fad.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that is a gluten allergy affecting the GI tract. Dermatitis herpetiformis is a gluten allergy causing skin rash. Because the allergy affects the GI tract, it interferes with food absorption causing fatigue, osteoporosis, migraine, joint pain, infertility, anemia, neurosensory effects and more. Symptoms are so various, that a gluten sensativity could be the answer to your mystery medical issues. People with autism should avoid gluten because it exacerbates certain behaviors. There are tests for gluten sensitivity and you should see a doctor to confirm an allergy. You could go gluten free for a week to see if symptoms subside.
From a nutritional standpoint, there is no health benefit to avoiding gluten if you are not allergic. It is like saying everyone should avoid smelling flowers because some people are allergic to pollen.