Is Gluten-Free The Way To Be?

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COLUMBIA - Celiac disease is an intolerance to gluten -- a specialized protein found in many foods.  It  hurts one percent of the population. The only solution? A gluten-free diet.

Gluten is a combination of the natural proteins found in wheat. It gives bread dough that stretchiness and cupcake that stickiness. So, why are people without a gluten allergy avoiding the protein?

Jessica Meyers, registered dietitian, said celebrities may be part of the reason people are dropping gluten from their diet.

"As soon as a celebrity endorses a diet, then everyone else goes 'well they are doing it, I should do it too,'" Meyers said. "It's kind of that celebrity hype that is getting associated with a gluten free diet."

Dande Cafe in Columbia has a gluten-free kitchen. Owner Edie Diel said eating out at restaurants that don't have a gluten free kitchen has been hard for her.

"You have to say 'okay i'm ordering off the gluten free menu' and then you have to say to the waiter to make sure he communicates allergy information to the kitchen," Diel said. "Then they have to scrub down the grill."

Jacy Tilton, who is gluten intolerant, said one downside to being gluten-free is the price tag on the food.

"It does cost a lot more just because a lot of the foods happen to also be organic." Tilton said. "That's been a little bit of a struggle."

Meyers said those concerned they may have celiac disease should not go on a gluten free diet until being tested by a doctor.