You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe

Food & dining

Gluten: fact or fad or a bit of both?

Blame it on Gwyneth, or Miley, or Victoria Beckham, or even Chelsea Clinton’s wedding cake. Or on the Paleo diet or the best-selling book “Wheat Belly.” Or on improved awareness and diagnoses, or diets centered around processed foods, or changes in wheat itself.

Whether fact or fad, or a bit of both, gluten avoidance has become a way of life for millions of Americans. According to a study by the Center for Celiac Research at Massachusetts General Hospital, nearly one out of 133 Americans suffers from celiac disease, a genetic autoimmune disorder, in which all foods with gluten, found in wheat and other grains, must be avoided. According to the center’s figures, another 18 million people, or 6 percent of the population, have gluten sensitivity; symptoms may range from gastrointestinal issues to behavioral problems to joint pain and osteoporosis. And then there are countless people avoiding gluten because they think it’s simply a healthier way to eat, or because they believe it will result in weight loss.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week