General Mills introduces 150 new products, hops on the gluten-free bandwagon

Earlier this week, Minnesota-based General Mills announced a lineup of 150 new products of the gluten-free and protein-heavy variety.

With items like their LÄRABAR Renola -- the first grain-free granola in the national market -- and Chex gluten-free oatmeal, the company has officially jumped on the gluten-intolerant bandwagon. But is this just a soon-to-be-over fad? Are these niche products already passé?

See also: Could mead be the next big drink trend? Minnesota mead-makers weigh in

In a series of studies conducted within the past five years, one gastroenterology professor and professional Peter Gibson went from believing non-Celiac gluten intolerance was a phenomenon to crediting it to psychological paranoia, after his survey participants would feel sick based on expectations rather than realities. Still other researchers suggest that those with a non-Celiac aversion to wheat-based products are actually reacting to a specific type of carbohydrate in the wheat, not the gluten protein itself.

So with a Forbes-estimated gluten-free revenue of $15 billion over the next two years, it seems that food corporations like General Mills are capitalizing on a widespread case of gluten sensitivity, trendy hypochondria or no.

Without further introduction (or skepticism), here are the top five new General Mills products we're most excited to try.

5. Cascadian Farm Protein Granola Pea protein is the star of this show, packing a whopping 10 grams of protein in every serving and proving that we can milk and/or find nutrients in just about anything edible, as long as we set our dietary hipster minds to it.

4. Chex Gluten Free Oatmeal We're all used to the gluten-free Chex variety by now, but now you can enjoy Maple Brown Sugar oatmeal without worrying about it being packed with stomachache-inducing gluten (just regular old sugary gut rot).

3. Betty Crocker Gluten Free Pizza Crust Gone are the days of sacrificing health and wellness in order to jump in on your roommate's Papa John's order. Betty Crocker has decided to stop laughing in the face of gluten intolerance and create a delicious recipe of the health-based variety. Go on, destroy the nutritional benefits by heaping on that pound of shredded cheese, we won't judge.

2. Betty Crocker Suddenly Grain Salad This brown rice, wild rice, and quinoa combination isn't for those looking to run from gluten, but if you're in dire need of whole grains, this healthy meal is packing 27 grams of the good stuff. Who said salads needed to be green?

1. Food Should Taste Good Brown Rice Crackers It's as if Wheat Thins moved to Portland and decided that they had to make a change for the better. These tasty bites are made with gluten-free ingredients like sesame, flax seeds, quinoa, and amaranth and then transformed into can't-just-have-one flavors such as Sea Salt, Roasted Red Pepper, and Tomato and Basil. We've never doubted our gluten tolerance, before, but with this new menu item, it appears we may have to.

So what do you think of the new lineup, Hot Dishers? Are you outraged by societal doubts about non-Celiac gluten intolerance, or are you as on the fence as Peter Gibson?

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