I don’t personally avoid gluten, but I know many people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity who do. Today local grocery stores stock a vast number of gluten free products. You can also modify many of your favorite recipes to be gluten free.
So what is gluten? Gluten is a protein found in certain grains, including wheat, barley, rye and malt. It is made up of two proteins — gliadin and glutenin. If you have celiac disease you need to avoid gluten. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that can be quite serious if it is not properly managed, as it can cause damage to the small intestine. Some people do not have celiac disease, but do have gluten sensitivity, which can cause intestinal discomfort that is relieved by following a gluten free diet. If you don’t have either of these conditions, avoiding gluten is not generally necessary, and in fact, is not particularly recommended because many commercially made gluten free products are loaded with extra fat and sometimes sugar to make up for the missing proteins. Further, by avoiding many of the whole grains which include gluten, you may be missing out on important minerals, vitamins and fiber which are essential for a healthy diet.