Gluten is a protein and generally thought of as healthy when compared to fats or carbohydrates. In the last few years thanks to books like Wheat Belly and Grain Brain once again grain makers are being dragged through the mud.
Less than 1% of North Americans have celiac disease a disorder that requires a gluten-free diet. Yet almost one in three consumers now eschews gluten, according to trend watchers NPD Group. Influenced by bestselling anti-gluten books and celebrity endorsements. The US market for gluten-free foods will climb from $4.2 billion in 2012 to $6.6 billion by 2017, according to Packaged Facts, as bread bakers, craft beer makers and eateries from Hooters to Michelin-starred Hakkasan embrace the trend.
Wheat consumption has fallen to a 22 year low, according to the U.S. department of Agriculture. That’s partly due to the work of gluten-free advocates who call wheat “the world’s most destructive dietary ingredient.” Grain producers appear to be reluctant to criticize these anti-gluten authors for fear of fueling sales of their books and the risk of offending those with celiac disease. According to marketing professor Mark Lang, “large companies have learned to not overreact to these flash trends.”