Editor's note: Dr. Arthur Agatston is the medical director of wellness and prevention for Baptist Health South Florida. Creator of the best-selling South Beach Diet series, he is the author of the new book, "The South Beach Diet Gluten Solution."
If you're confused by the gluten-free diet craze, you're not alone.
Like many people, you've probably heard about the phenomenon but really don't understand what gluten is or what, if anything, you should be doing about it. Yet millions of people in this country are turning their lives upside-down trying to avoid it.
Here are five things you need to know about gluten:
But gluten can also turn up in unexpected places, like certain brands of chocolate, imitation crab (surimi), deli meats, soy sauce, vitamins and even some kinds of toothpaste.
Gluten is different from protein in other grains (such as rice) and in meat (such as steak) in that it is difficult for humans to digest completely. It can make some people very sick. But not everyone.