Gluten-free is no fad

Look in any health food store and you’ll find aisles and aisles of gluten-free products, from crackers to chips to cookies to pasta and on. You might think, wow, what a fad.

After all, who doesn’t remember the no-fat fad, where you could get chocolate cake without so much as a drop of butter; the no-sugar fad, where the sweetest candy contained no cane sugar and the no-salt fad, where everything from soups to pretzels came without that most common of condiments (and tasted like it, too)?

But the no-wheat fad, wheat being the primary cause of allergic reactions in gluten-based products, is no fad at all, says Minna Jain of Durango Natural Foods Co-op.

“The interest in gluten-free products is only increasing,” she said, noting that about 30 to 35 percent of the products in the store are gluten-free.

She sees it in the burgeoning number of people who attend the classes she teaches about how to get the wheat, barley and rye out of your diet. She sees in the growing number of customers who follow the Paleo diet, which doesn’t allow gluten or dairy. And she sees it in the increasing demand for freshly made gluten-free items from the Co-op deli.

Their best seller?

Gluten-free chocolate-peanut butter cookies.

“They fly off the shelf,” she said.