Gluten-free diets, once the purview of those with life-threatening conditions like celiac disease, have hit the mainstream. Docs now estimate that gluten allergies strike one in 100 North Americans, and even those who aren't allergic are turning onto gluten-free, blaming the protein for ailments from infertility to anxiety.
Even decidedly un-health conscious chains like P.F. Chang's and Outback Steakhouse are hawking gluten-free options. But doctors are quick to point out that, except for those with proven intolerances, there's little evidence to back up the hype. Warns one gastroenterologist, “There’s this ‘go blame gluten’ thing going on. It’s difficult to sort out science from the belief.”