While there is a flurry of gluten free products in the market, and books like ‘Wheat Belly’ have set the tone for most people to be carb-phobic.  I ask myself this question, do we all indeed need to be gluten free, if we don’t have celiac disease (gluten allergy)? Being gluten free is one of the top-most health trends today. Most Indians (with all due respect) wanting to be a part of the so call health-herd mentality, end up giving their lovely chapattis (a staple for Indians from centuries), and then start gorging anything and everything which says gluten free-its actually become fashionable to be gluten free.

In the Indian scenario when I look at all my client’s, about 30 percent are trying to avoid gluten.  I have to tell them if you feel avoiding gluten, is going to make you feel any healthier, then you need to reverse that though t process, as this is not generally the case.

Consider this for a while: a multi-grain bread manufacturer screams on the label that his bread is gluten free, but  has used tapioca starch, white rice flour, more sodium to make its bread – in my opinion this bread would have much less fiber and digest more slowly (if at all) than a whole wheat bread.  Not to mention the cost of the gluten free bread would be 30 percent higher than the whole wheat bread. A.C. Nielsen the market research company points to gluten free sales doubling in the last 4 years.

Why is it that a nation that has grown up on eating whole wheat chapattis is suddenly following a fad? This is a question we must all ask ourselves. My recommendation is that if you feel you are intolerant to gluten, which is typically indicative by indigestion, bloatedness, heartburn, heaviness, acid reflux – and then work slowly by first eliminating gluten from your diet to see if symptoms disappear.  If not, then please don’t.  While there are studies that point to gluten sticking to the stomach lining.  But, we Indians are predisposed genetically to eat whole wheat, and that in itself saves us from the gluten free madness.

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