Alert
Close

Get free help preparing your taxes from AARP Foundation Tax-Aide. Find a location

HIGHLIGHTS

Open
AARP Staying Sharp: Keep Your Brain Healthy
Bob Dylan Talks!

AARP VETERAN MEMBERSHIP

Military and Veterans Discount

CONTESTS AND SWEEPS

You Could Choose Your Dream Vacation

AARP REALPAD

Introducing RealPad by AARP

AUTO BUYING PROGRAM

AARP Auto Buying Program

Download the ipad App

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.

 

Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

The Truth About Gluten

Why are millions of Americans forgoing wheat?

En español | Everywhere you turn — from the corner bakery to the stadium concession stand — you’re increasingly likely to find gluten-free foods. Americans spent $2.6 billion on gluten-free products in 2010, 30 percent more than four years earlier.

Clearly gluten — a protein found in wheat, barley and rye — is today's ingredient non grata.

Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter.

a field of wheat - the truth about gluten

Experiment with new grains. Brown rice and quinoa can stand in for some wheat-based foods. — Photo by Getty Images

Is gluten-free just another foodie fad? Or is it a potentially dangerous ingredient?

The answer is complicated. For the estimated 3 million Americans with celiac disease — an auto-immune illness that damages the lining of the digestive tract — exposure to gluten can trigger a host of serious symptoms, including vomiting and severe abdominal pain. For the millions more who test negative for celiac but insist they feel better after eliminating gluten, the scientific evidence is less convincing. Those people may be legitimately gluten-sensitive. Or perhaps they're simply eating a healthier diet, says Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist Joseph Murray, M.D., who notes that junk food tends to have high amounts of gluten. “Sometimes when I see someone who feels better off without gluten, I say, 'That's a very healthy diet. You could probably add some gluten to that and not feel any different.' "

Suspect you're gluten-sensitive? Give up gluten for two weeks, then reintroduce it and see how you react, says Trudy Scott, president of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals. "That's a very powerful way to find out if gluten affects you."  

Also of interest: Snacking tips for diet success.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

member benefits adt companion

Members save 20% on new installation of an ADT Companion Service® personal emergency response system.

grocery coupon center member benefit aarp

Members can print savings coupons at the Grocery Coupon Center powered by Coupons.com.

reebok membership benefit discount

Members can save 20% on their entire purchase at Reebok Outlet Stores and Reebok.com.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.