Confusion Reigns About Gluten
Americans are spending $10.5 billion a year on products labeled gluten-free, but only about one-third of consumers can correctly identify what gluten is. A telephone survey of 1,012 US adults conducted for NSF International found plenty of confusion about gluten, a protein found in grains including wheat, barley and rye that patients with celiac disease must avoid. Just over a quarter (26%) mistakenly said they think products that are wheat-free are necessarily also gluten-free; 15% defined gluten as simply “wheat.” On the other hand, 47% erroneously said rice contains gluten and 34% said potatoes do. Asked reasons for avoiding gluten, 19% said they suffer from gluten “allergy” or sensitivity, 12% said going gluten-free makes them feel healthier, and 9% self-identified as having celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder that scientists say affects only about 0.75% of the population).