Gluten-free products are everywhere and food manufacturers, seeing another great marketing opportunity, have jumped on the band wagon. The internet and Google have made self-diagnosis extremely easy (although not necessarily extremely accurate.) People, without seeing a doctor determine that they are gluten-sensitive or allergic to wheat. There are (many undiagnosed because diagnosis is tricky) people who suffer from celiac disease. In this disease, the small intestine with its amazing structures for absorbing the products of digestion are "attacked" by gluten. Their villi (an estimated 4.5 million of them) are changed and can no longer do their job. Symptoms of celiac are nasty and include diarrhea, bloating, gas (flatulence, farting),swollen ankles (edema), anemia, fatigue,
vitamin K deficiency, and excessive bruising and bleeding. These nasty effects are alleviated by following a gluten-free diet.
gluten-free products aren't fortified with vitamins (such as B vitamins, folate and iron) and wheat products normally pass through the digestive tract with no untoward results. Wheat and gluten are not villains. Substitutes carry their own health dangers. Rice products and rice flour increase consumption of serum mercury and arsenic that rice naturally takes up from the soil. Gluten-free products are less nutritious.
Simply, if you suspect you are celiac, see a specialist. Other conditions present similar symptoms but are not due to wheat allergy or gluten sensitivity. They include irritable bowel syndrome, small bowel bacterial overgrowth, and fructose (a sugar) and lactose (milk sugar) intolerance. None of these are harmless conditions but treatment should be for the correct disease.
Gluten-free isn't a healthy choice UNLESS you have celiac. Gluten-free is a marketing ploy but "big" food companies want your bucks and gluten-free is big business.
I've been writing on and off for years and this is where my more serious pieces will be.