So why exactly are so many people declaring themselves gluten-free nowadays? Some of them actually might not even know, says dietician Kristen Kirkpatrick, who constantly hears misconceptions about gluten on a daily basis.

Those who are gluten-free typically suffer from celiac disease, which is an immune reaction to eating gluten, which triggers an immune response in your small intestine and produces inflammation that damages the organ's lining and contributes to malabsorption. But do all of today's gluten-free people have celiac disease?

Kristen Kirkpatrick is a dietician who manages wellness and nutrition services at the Cleveland Clinic. She says that many clients of hers are misinformed about gluten. But they are not alone. Kirkpatrick says the misinformation is widespread across the United States. "Gluten makes you fat"; "Gluten is not part of a clean diet"; "Gluten is bad for you"; "Gluten causes cancer." Kirkpatrick spoke with ABC News in hopes of providing some insightful information.

Gluten is a substance present in cereal grains, especially wheat, that is responsible for the elastic texture of dough. It's the major protein found in some grains, especially wheat, barley, and rye. Kirkpatrick reiterates that gluten is not "unhealthy" and it does not "make you fat." Because a poor diet and a high caloric intake contribute to an unhealthy diet that can lead to obesity.

"Calories make you fat regardless of where those calories are coming from, whether they're coming from brown rice, which is gluten-free or a wheat bagel," she said in this ABC News article. "You can be on a horrible gluten-free diet, just like you can be on a horrible vegetarian diet."

In fact, some gluten-free foods can be unhealthier than their gluten-filled counterparts, because they can sometimes contain more calories or sugar to make them more "palatable," added Dr. Kelly Thompsen, a gastroenterologist at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.


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