Feb 20, 2012 • By

Free from gluten

Today, we’re beginning a week-long series on “A Taste of General Mills” called “5 Food Trends for 2012,” which focuses on some things to watch related to the food industry, consumers and nutrition.

As one of the largest food companies in the world, we get excited about these things. We know you may not be as tantalized by the trends as we are, but there is a good chance you’ve noticed what we’re highlighting.

So, each day, we’ll focus on a different trend and get experts to weigh in.

First up, we look at a trend that we’ve titled: “Free from gluten.”

More and more people are ditching gluten even though they don’t have to. Danna Korn has been living a gluten-free lifestyle for more than 20 years. She is considered a gluten-free guru, contributes to GlutenFreely.com, and travels the world helping people live and love a gluten-free lifestyle. We asked her about switching to a free from gluten diet.

Many people are omitting gluten without a doctor advising them to. Is that a good idea? A bad idea?

Korn: A lot of people are trying a gluten-free diet to feel better without being tested for allergies, gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. I personally am a very big proponent of proper testing. For one thing, you need to know which of those conditions you have. An allergy is very different from celiac disease, so you need to know which condition you have. You could have some other things going on, as well. So I’m a big advocate of proper testing.

Do you believe a gluten-free lifestyle is good for everyone?

Korn: Whether or not everyone will benefit from a gluten-free lifestyle is hard to say. Most people who have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease don’t know they have the condition – and those people would definitely benefit from going gluten-free. However, it is incredibly important to get tested first before going gluten-free to accurately confirm a diagnosis. Thus, if someone has symptoms, and there are hundreds of them, they should be tested for gluten sensitivity and celiac disease, and then decide. If one decides to go gluten-free before getting tested, it could affect test results. I do believe there are many people out there who have no idea that their lives would be greatly improved if they went gluten-free!

Why did you a adopt a gluten-free lifestyle, and did you notice a difference in how you felt?

Korn: Honestly, it was more of a personal decision for me. After my son’s diagnosis of celiac disease, our household embraced the gluten-free lifestyle, and we are loving it!

Where do you see the gluten-free trend heading?

Korn: I have no doubt that this is not just a passing trend, but it is something we will see for the rest of our lives. And I’m encouraged by the fact that large companies like General Mills are stepping up to the plate to make a commitment to the gluten-free community.

Editor’s note: For more Q & A with Korn, visit Ask Danna at GlutenFreely.com , a community website and an e-commerce business launched by General Mills, where you can find everything you need to live a gluten-free lifestyle.

As we said above, this is the first post in a five-part series featuring a look at “5 Five Food Trends for 2012,” as compiled by Consumer Insights at General Mills. Read about the other trends we profiled: “Never shop or eat alone,” “Boomer nutrition” and “Sustainability sustains.”