(CBS/AP) What's the great shakes with gluten-free eating.
Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Old Spice guy Isaiah Mustufa sing its praises. Chelsea Clinton's wedding cake was baked without gluten, and grocery store shelves are increasingly stacked with gluten-free pasta, , crackers, cereals and beer.
Why is gluten-free now the "it" diet?
For people with celiac disease, taking gluten off the menu is a must. They suffer an immune reaction if they eat food with gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.
But countless healthy people have hopped on the gluten-free bandwagon - despite clear evidence that there are any health benefits. No wonder U.S. sales of gluten-free food have in the last few years to more than $2.6 billion, according to market research company Packaged Facts.
Some people insist that going gluten-free makes them feel more energetic.
"I feel better when I don't do it," Silvana Nardone, former editor-in-chief of "Every Day with Rachel Ray" magazine, has said of eating gluten. "If I go out to a restaurant with friends and I have a beer and a plate of pasta, I'm going to feel it the next day. No one wants a gluten hangover."
Dr. Brian Bosworth, director of the gastroenterology fellowship program at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, noted that while gluten can certainly be an irritant to some people, he wouldn't make a blanket statement that it's harder to digest for everyone.
"I don't think that, in general, that there's a reason to strictly avoid it," said Bosworth, who has celiac disease.
And Dee Sandquist, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, said eating gluten-free doesn't mean you're going to lose weight: "There are just as many calories, if not more, depending on the food choices."
But if you're on the gluten-free kick or you have celiac's disease, you might want to check out these amazing