Reversing Fears About Gluten

May 19, 2014 Updated May 19, 2014 at 8:59 PM EDT

By WKBW News

May 19, 2014 Updated May 19, 2014 at 8:59 PM EDT

(ABC News/WKBW) Are you gluten-free? Many Americans are because of fears that gluten is harmful to their health, but it turns out that these fears may not be warranted after all.

Gluten-free is a term that, for many, is synonymous with health, but now, the scientists who years ago warned of the downsides of gluten are trying to take back these fears.

Of course, for many Americans, this may take some convincing. Gluten -- a protein found naturally in many grains -- has gotten a very bad rap.

We have heard it can cause digestive symptoms like bloating and pain. Some even worry that eating it can lead to fatigue and weight gain, but more recent research shows that unless you are one of the few who has celiac disease or a wheat allergy, eating gluten is just fine.

Still, don't expect to see the gluten-free aisle disappear from your local market. Gluten-free is now a billion-dollar industry reinforced by celebrities who promote a diet sans gluten.

So should you really be gluten-free? It turns out, it's up to you. The most important advice is to maintain a balanced diet and understand that for most people, avoiding gluten may be much more trouble than it's worth.

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