NEW YORK—At 4:30 on a rainy afternoon on the Upper West Side, two young women walk into Orwashers Bakery. As they place their umbrellas next to the entrance, Bryan Rivera, manager of the bakery, calls out: “Hi, ladies, enjoying the weather?” One of the women asks what bread they sell. Rivera grins as he turns to his back, points to the choices, and says, “We have plenty of options.”
Fresh, artisanal bread is rare in New York, yet in high demand, despite the growing trend forward gluten-free diets in the United States. About 1 in 133 Americans are unable to digest wheat gluten because they have celiac disease. But in the past few years, many people have gone “gluten-free” due to an increasingly common belief that eating gluten is unhealthy.
“The gluten-free diet is often misconstrued as being a weight loss diet or healthier way to eat causing many to go gluten-free,” says Rachel Begun, a registered dietitian, culinary nutritionist and gluten-free lifestyle expert. “There is no evidence to show that removing gluten, in and of itself, is a path to weight loss or being healthier.”
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