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Appetite for gluten-free growing in East Vancouver

A gluten-free trend is sweeping through Vancouver’s Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood, leading restaurant owners to radically alter their menus. The neighbourhood’s changing tastes…

By Elizabeth Hames , in Feature story Life , on February 12, 2014

A gluten-free trend is sweeping through Vancouver’s Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood, leading restaurant owners to radically alter their menus. The neighbourhood’s changing tastes have been good for business, but some locals doubt whether the gluten-free hype will last.

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The high cost of gluten-free

Canadians are spending more for less — less gluten, that is. In 2008, Dalhousie researchers compared regular products with their gluten-free counterparts. They found the gluten-free products to be 242 per cent more expensive, on average. That hasn’t stopped health-focused shoppers from buying them.

Americans spent more than than $4 billion on gluten-free products in 2012. The company predicts the industry will grow to $6.6 billion by 2017.[/column]

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Health benefits doubtful

Only about 1 per cent of the population has celiac disease. But 30 per cent of adults say they would like to reduce the amount of gluten in their diet, according to a poll by market research company NDP Group.

Experts doubt the health benefits of gluten-free diets for people who don’t suffer from celiac disease. Some even warn against the diet, saying it could lead people to follow a nutrient-deficient diet.[/column]

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