Gluten free eating began as a treatment for celiac disease, with spectacular results. But as more and more people have grown interested in eating well, the number of us choosing GF diets is far greater than the number suffering celiac disease.
So why do so many people go GF? A group of researchers, hungry for answers, endeavoured to find out.
In all, eight academics from the US, UK and Europe put their heads together on the issue. They took a close look at Google Trends data to determine just who is searching gluten free diets online.
Google Trends is a fascinating, if a little disturbing, pocket of the internet that lets you explore movements in what we’re all googling. You can filter your search by country or topic, or just hone in on hot issues like “guns in America”, or “Britain’s royal wedding”.
The researchers looked at dietary-related search terms like “gluten-free diet” and, by noting the geographical area of each googler, they correlated the prevalence of GF search terms with markers like income, ethnicity, health, level of physical activity and access to healthy food.
What they found offers some surprising insights into just who is going gluten free, and why.
It turns out that GF phrases rose to prominence as the most popular dietary search terms in parts of the United States back in 2006, soaring to become the most popular across 55% of the country by 2015, where they have stayed ever since.
So, just who are these masked googlers? The research team found that having health conditions like diabetes, being above a healthy weight, or lacking access to healthy food don’t increase anyone’s likelihood of googling gluten free. The people most likely to search for gluten free diets online have higher household incomes and a general interest in healthy living. In fact, in a second study, one third of Americans buying gluten free bread and other GF fare just chose it for the love of it, while another third professed an interest in weight loss or good health.
Here at Abhi’s we often hear that the only thing people love more than our gluten free loaves and rolls are our GF banana bread, coconut bread and muffins. Personally, we love it all: GF, sourdough, spelt, whole wheat and more!
Why do you choose gluten free?