gluten

Produce aisle of grocery store
File Photo / KBIA

Walk down a grocery store aisle or open a restaurant menu.

Gluten-free labels are everywhere.

Gluten is a starchy protein compound found in products made from wheat, barley and rye. It’s what gives dough a chewy texture. But up until this point, there has been little oversight on what qualifies as gluten-free and what doesn’t.

Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media

Gluten-free diets. They bar most beers, breads and cakes among other foods, because they contain wheat, rye and barley. The trendy diet is wildly popular today which is surprising, given that experts estimate only about 1 percent of the U.S. population suffers from Celiac disease, the disorder that causes their immune systems to reject the pesky gluten. But as Harvest Public Media’s Abbie Fentress Swanson reports, this diet fad and others are largely driven by Americans’ growing appetite for food solutions to their health woes.

Sure, we know that gluten-free is the Jennifer Lawrence of food trends. But we were still startled to hear that one-third of Americans say they're trying to avoid gluten. Really?