Gluten-Free can be Bad for 99% of Us.

Via Waylon Lewis
on May 18, 2013
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gluten free, elephant journal, cookie monster

A: Yes, this is a well known and well studied phenomena in weight loss. Basically, it doesn’t actually matter what you do–if you consciously make a choice to diet, you’ll lose weight.

“I’m a celiac, and while I enjoy the glut of new products that are gluten-free, I resent the dieters that don’t take advantage of their functioning GI track. EAT A DOUGHNUT. SOME OF US CAN’T…

Celiac here too, and 100% with you on that one. I understand that a lot of people feel better w/o gluten even if they don’t have CD (my husband, for instance), but damn, wish I could eat a sugar raised doughnut just one. more. time. But then it would be off to the ER for me, so, no.

Or a double decker from Taco Bell. Or even just cheez-its! Or soft french bread and brie…” [Reddit]

gluten

Many, many more perspectives here:

The Tastiest Gluten-Free Stuffed Artichokes You’ll Ever Eat. ~ Paige Vignola {Recipe}

Eat a Gluten-Free Diet for Type 2 Diabetes & Celiac Disease. ~ Sarka-Jonae Miller

A Gluten-Free Treat to Start the Day. ~ Terri Tremblett

Link: 1% of the population has a genuine need. For most of the rest of us, we’re just eating processed, pricey, nutrient-light “wellness” products.

Here’s 8 Gluten-free Things that are Actually Bad for Us.

Don’t get suckered by the Gluten-free gold rush. Just because it’s GF doesn’t mean it’s good for us. Stick with real food, that’s naturally gluten-free. Cook more, love more, slow down. Avoid heavily-processed hype:

New read: Food fadism: exposing the gluten myth (afr.com)

“If it’s packaged or processed — gluten or no gluten — it’s not as healthy as other whole foods you could be eating. The best gluten-free foods aren’t products at all; They’re fresh fruits and vegetables!”

When I was video host at Natural Products Expo West, recently, interviewing some of the newer GF companies, it felt like I was talking with a bunch of fad and money-focused business people—not foodies or wellness experts. I do like some GF companies that focus on health, not just GF. ~ ed.

Beware buzz-words. They mean something, but they don’t mean enough that we can turn off our critical intelligence.

Much of the general population’s newfound gluten-intolerance is, likely, psychosomatic—i.e., imagined. The point: eat healthfully, read labels, don’t follow fads or be a sucker for corporate hype claims.

It’s the same with organic. Folks think organic means healthy. It means something: but not necessarily good-for-you.

In a recent poll, 30 percent of adults said they wanted to “cut down or be free of gluten“…About 1 percent of the population has celiac disease…people who unnecessarily shun gluten may do so at the expense of their health, Tallmadge said…whole grains, which contain gluten, are a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals, Tallmadge said. Gluten-free products are often made with refined grains, and are low in nutrients…[like] fiber, iron, folate, niacin, thiamine, calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus and zinc. “There’s nothing magical about eliminating gluten that results in weight loss,” Mangieri said. Any of us that eliminates or removes cookies and candies from our diets, and replaces them with fruits and vegetables is going to feel better.”

Via @waylonlewis via @hukitchen on Instagram (follow’ em):

gluten-free health bad

1. Soda is Gluten-free. This is what one sip of soda does to your body.

2. Cocaine is Gluten-free. Bonus: on Fair-trade Cocaine.

3. Some gluten-free cookies: many are still bad for you. “just two of Glow’s cookies contain as much saturated fat as 10 McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets and more calories than seven Nabisco Ginger Snaps!” Some are pretty healthy. Read the labels.

4. Some gluten-free granola: the store-bought stuff is generally full of sugar and canola oil. Yum! “With 20 grams each of both fat and sugar, Udi’s granola resembles a dessert…”

5. Some gluten-free bread is all canola oil and eggs: read, fat and calories. And weight-gain!

6. Gluten-free bagels: “The listed serving size may be half a bagel, but don’t be fooled—few people will stop at half. To add further insult, Glutino’s also manages to pack in more fat per bagel than three scoops of Breyer’s Original Strawberry ice cream.” Jaw, meet floor.Gluten Free Aisle

7. Gluten-free Cake? Bad for you: “Tia’s “Totally Healthy” cake contains as many calories as 8.5 Fudgesicles, as much fat as 3.5 McDonald’s Hamburgers, and more sugar than 10 feet of Fruit by the Foot candy.” How would you look with 15 extra pounds? Eat a couple of these a week and you’ll find out.

8. Gluten-free soups…are often all “flour, butter and milk or cream.”

“…Many of us paying a premium to avoid gluten are doing so without any legitimate medical reason.

First of all, why is gluten — a protein found in wheat, rye and barley — so bad? Well, for most of us, it isn’t.”

~

Bonus: If you can tolerate gluten, this is my favorite kind:

 

If you plan to go gluten free, select more fruits, vegetables, and lean meat, and more naturally gluten-free grains like brown rice, quinoa, and buckwheat, rather than just buying prepackaged products labeled “gluten free,” Sandquist says.

glutenfreecupcakes copy

Sources:

Men’s Health.

Scientific American.

Time.

CNN.

For another pov: Slate.

Common Sense (look it up, it’s in your own head)

 


363,739 views

About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | facebook.com/elephantjournal | twitter.com/elephantjournal | facebook.com/waylonhlewis | twitter.com/waylonlewis | Google+ For more: publisherelephantjournalcom

Comments

78 Responses to “Gluten-Free can be Bad for 99% of Us.”

  1. EmBot says:

    I think this is kind of the same thing as being vegan. Everything vegan is not healthy, vegan cupcakes, vegan hot wings etc. I eat gluten free due to the fact that I am sensitive to the gluten and it makes me a raging bipolar wreck. And yes, I realize that gluten free cake is not "healthy" but I also don't eat any kind of cake for the actual purpose of it being "healthy." Really, I eat it BECAUSE it is unhealthy, as a treat. Doesn't it come down to knowledge on ingredients and nutrition and not eating a certain way because it is trendy? But rather because it makes us feel better in our bodies?

  2. Jen says:

    If people eat clean, healthy food and stay away from the processed gluten-free foods they will be ok. When I first went gluten-free due to health issues several years ago I began putting weight on bc I was buying all the “boxed” gluten free items such as pasta, cookies, crackers, cereals etc. What I found is that a lot of these items were also making me ill due to all the extra ingredients that were used as substitute for gluten. I went back to eaten organic fruits, veggies, a little grain like brown rice and millet plus ate grass fed meats on occasion. I lost the weight and began feeling better almost immediately. Just bc it reads gluten-free does not mean it is ok to over indulge. People did the same thing years ago when Nabisco came out with snackwells. They figured bc they were “low fat” they could eat the whole box. I have spent years studying nutrition and using food to help me heal. What I found… Go back to keeping it simple and delicious!!! Like the above stated Eat local, organic, grass fed etc as much as possible and on occasion indulge on a GF treat. Its ok to have a treat now and again. Food is to be enjoyed. Just be smart.

  3. Amanda says:

    I eat gluten free because wheat causes a terrible inflammatory reaction in my joints. I don't think it's quite right to assert that only people with Celiac's can benefit from going gluten free. That being said, I agree with the spirit of this piece, which is just that processed food isn't good for you.

  4. elephantjournal says:

    Waylon: Jack, most elephant readers aren't vegetarian. Lead isn't meat, either, so Paleo folks should drop it, too!

    Kimberly Lo Thanks you for this! I remember as a kid I went to school with a kid with celiac disease. Most people never heard of it and some doubted it was even real. It angers me to no end when some people who self-diagnose themselves as being intolerant act like it is the same thing. It is not.

    Jack Elder Lead is also vegetarian…better stop being vegetarian guys.

    Heather Minsky Nottingham Read the book Wheat Belly.

    Rafael A. Prieto Prieto Uranium is naturally ocurring.

    Frieda L. Ferrick I totally agree.

    Brooke Tatum Any kind of processed foods (esp flour) are not as good as fresh whole foods. GMO is the biggest concern and the reason wheat gluten is bugging people is because all our wheat now is Frankenwheat. Heirloom wheat is different for most people. All I know is that my health has improved tremendously since I stopped gluten and avoid GMOs like the plague. But GF bread causes the same gut problems that gluten did. Go figure.

  5. xplorexpress says:

    It is surely more healthy eating vegan than eating a macdo junk, for sure… as for the rest, it is a question of freedom and people should be able to choose what they want to eat without being cataloged or belittled. If somebody chooses or have to eat a certain way for his/her health, it is their choice.

    As for the example you give in this article, I find them a bit childish and belittling. Leave people alone and free of their choices. You have the right to eat your bread with gluten so let people eat their bread without gluten if they choose so…

  6. paul says:

    A helpful video, "Gluten and autoimmunity explained in 20 minutes" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvUgcLQOUSA

  7. You do not need to have celiac's to benefit from being gluten free. There is a huge gray area in between a full on allergic reaction and non-reaction. Most people are in the gray area where gluten does cause a reaction to a degree. This is called a food sensitivity. This sensitivity is a reaction of the immune system which results in inflammation. The inflammation is what damages the body. This is why eating gluten free can and does help people with a variety of non-celiac diseases (e.g. arthritis and thyroiditis). Avoiding gluten reduces inflammation.

  8. Amy says:

    After 15+ years of feeling like crap, it was finally determined last year that gluten is the problem. My son also has problems with gluten. Neither one of us underwent the extensive testing required to determine if we are celiac at the advice of both my family doctor and our pediatrician. Both advised that if you feel better without it, don't eat it. Why should I subject a little boy to an endoscopy, blood tests and weeks of dietary restrictions and testing just to provide every one else with an "official" diagnosis? It's not "psychosomatic." I have all the markers and subsquent health issues associated with gluten intolerance and my son's health has improved tenfold. It can difficult telling people that we're gluten-free—they often act like we've jumped on the bandwagon. Frankly, being GF is a pain in the ass, particularly at kid's parties, so it's not something I do "just because" and opinions like this article only perpetuate the misinformation.

  9. Alex says:

    This article is pompous and rude. Instead of telling people like me to get off of the "fad" of being gluten free (which is not why I am gluten free at all, I find like many other people it helps prevent headaches, sinus problems, mouth sores etc etc and I prefer to live without those things thank you), why don't YOU (the author) get off the fad of belittling and even slightly poking fun at people who choose to be gluten free??I have noticed that people think it is now cool to mock people who choose this lifestyle and cram us all into one stereotyped category. Please, expand your consciousness a little bit. And I must say that as much as you think that NOT eating gluten is a fad, I think that you are the true one who has joined the fad that has been going on for much longer by indulging in the gluten world. I may actually be one step ahead of you by recognizing the "eat gluten" fad that began way before any of the gluten free so called "fad" you speak of came about. You my friend are the one who has been brainwashed by the USFDA, not I.

  10. Chris says:

    There is a difference between celiac disease, non-celiac gluten intolerance and gluten sensitivity. Celiac is 1 out if 100, but that is not the end of the story.

    Many more people are NCGI or have GS.

  11. star says:

    Where is the journalistic integrity? That processed food, with or without gluten, is not good for you is not news.
    This article is tremendously misleading, beginning with the statement that only 1% of the population has a genuine need. Each of these distinct and different conditions; Celiac Disease, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS), Wheat Allergy, Dermatitis Herpetiformis and Gluten Ataxia, require a different means for diagnosis and with two of them, NCGS and gluten ataxia, doctors and researchers haven’t yet agreed upon a consistent and accurate way to perform diagnosis. So to apply numbers and to dismiss someone's pain as having no link to gluten – who are you to say?

  12. Jennifer says:

    I liked this article because it is another reminder to question everything, including fads in the health food world. My diet has been evolving since I became a vegetarian in the 7th grade. I have been vegan, plant based, gluten free, soy free, localvore, seasonal eater, macrobiotic, organic and pescetarian (never paleo though). I have drank kombucha, sprinkled nutritional yeast and seaweed on everything, used braggs and then quit using braggs. Put simply I now eat intuitively and what feels right for my body and the planet. With all the information out there I can find compelling research to eat everything and nothing. I saw we all put down the books, articles and blog posts and use our intuition and common sense about what is good for your own body :)

  13. Alyssa says:

    At the core, you're correct, but what you are saying has nothing to do with being gluten-free, it has everything to do with both thinking, and avoiding processed food. As a gym owner and fitness trainer who has steered hundreds of people away from processed food – which in turn steers them away from sugar, chemicals and often gluten – that is the key. And you are just wrong about the impact of gluten on most people. For the vast majority of people it causes both systemic swelling and an insulin reaction (insulin being your body's way of not just lowering blood sugar, but storing energy, which manifests as excess body fat.) This kind of condescending tone does nothing to inspire better health or encourage proactive lifestyle changes. It's also just plain wrong on many accounts. Except the snide parts, those are accurate.

  14. elephantjournal says:

    Amy L: Not to mention that almost all gluten free products on the market are not-organic, which means you are getting a healthy dose of GMO's like canola oil, soy flours, lecithin, etc… which some could argue that is how we got into this whole mess of "Gluten intolerance" in the first place. Modern grains have been so genetically messed with our bodies can't even process them anymore. Try a diet of organic fruits, veggies, grains & legumes and see if your symptoms (of any kind) improve.

  15. Padma Kadag says:

    Not Guten free…but a powerhouse of energy…Tsampa… organic hull-less (not pearled) roasted barley flour. Purple Moumtain Tsampa…

  16. Robyn says:

    My name is Robyn, and I'm a bread addict. I like my wheat, and i like it gluten-y. I am currently reading "Wheat Belly," and though it's an inconvenient truth (if it is indeed a truth), I am finding out a lot of interesting facts about the problems with modern-day wheat and the wide-ranging health problems it can cause. So as so many of these fine people have mentioned, potential problems with it really do extend beyond full-fledged celiac disease.
    I do agree with the basic point of this article, though — avoid processed foods; many gluten-free products are full of other crap that makes you fat, among other things.

  17. Gigi says:

    Get your facts straight on saturated fat, please. Eggs and butter are healthy.

  18. Valeria says:

    what these gluten free products are replacing is also processed nutrient light products. I agree that the best replacement for absolutely everyone is fruit and veggies. But you cant say that gluten intolerance is psychosomatic! a bit more medical research my friend…Ask the people that were diagnosed how it changed their lives…

  19. Dr Paul says:

    The most recent research puts the incidence of coeliac disease at 1:60 women and 1:80 men, but that doesn't include non coeliac gluten sensitivity disorders which are probably just as prevalent. Perhaps if you had read more science and less rubbish you would appreciate the severity and co morbidity that gluten associated disease is implicated in, including triggering other autoimmune conditions and osteoporosis for example.

  20. Andrea says:

    Psychosomatic does not mean imagined. It means that the physical symptoms stem from mental distress. If you were beaten as a child, and you came to hold your shoulders high and have chronic pain as a result, that would be a psychosomatic symptom. Almost nobody has the kind of psychosomatization that you’re talking about.

  21. Victoria D says:

    HOW ABOUT THIS…
    If you don't feel good when you eat gluten then don't eat it! If you love it then eat it!
    I don't know if I am celiac , but I do know that every-time I eat gluten I feel like crap! therefore, I don't eat it!

  22. Jay says:

    It's goddamn articles like this one that make it so hard for my wife and I to go out to dinner. She isn't celiac, but she has a severe gluten intolerance, and when we ask about gluten we are often shunned as if we said "organic" or "vegan." Most waiters and waitresses don't often know what's in their restaurant's food, and the chefs are too pompous about their dishes to divulge that they might thicken a sauce with flower, or don't even know their tater tots were floured to keep them from sticking together. Or they put the fries in the same wheaty oil that they fried battered fish in. All it takes is a bit of wheat and she's sick for three days. And people aren't so stupid to think just because something is GF doesn't mean it's low in sugar and fat. We make most of our food at home from scratch, but do enjoy the occasional box of gluten free brownies. If you feel the need to preach, tell people to avoid too much processed foods in general. Don't make light of something that is making a lot of Americans sick by calling it a fad. If you really want to lead a "mindful" life, you might start out by being a bit more mindful and less snarky. Not very Buddhist.

  23. Kevin says:

    The gluten protein may in fact be intolerable for an additional 10% of the population and it's not 1% but 1.7% who are celiac which means gluten is literally killing them. Most of us who get sick from gluten just want gluten to be labeled properly and not added to food because it's a cheap filler. For the record I also don't drink soda, take cocaine or eat most processed foods.

  24. Sheldon says:

    100% of people react to gluten. Recent research shows that in the presence of gluten in the intestine, the body reacts by producing zonulin (look it up), which in turn leads to permeability of the gut. What this means is that proteins that would otherwise be further digested or broken down in the gut are allowed to permeate or slip through into the bloodstream, leading to a sensitized immune system (as it reacts to these "foreign" substances), inflammation, etc. Dr. David Perlmutter wrote an interesting book called "Grain Brain" in which many of today's most devastating neurological disorders can be linked to gluten sensitivity. Of course everyone likes a "cure-all" in their diets, and in the light of new discoveries about the food we eat, each one is heralded as the new "cure" for x-y-and-z. But do more research, and you will see that our health ailments are caused by an amalgam of poor life-style choices. You can't simply eat perfectly and not get physical exercise and vice versa. All that being said, yes, it is inconvenient to have to navigate the problems associated with cutting down on the amount of gluten in a diet. However, that inconvenience shouldn't lead to a marginalization of its effects on the overall health of our society.

  25. brick_layer says:

    It's amazing how much the food industry and the USDA have shaped (read: warped and twisted) Americans' sense of what is good for you, and what is not. They are just a couple of scam artists, and all they care about is money. Not to mention their ongoing love affair with the Pharmaceutical industry. We are doomed.

  26. Tim Daniel says:

    The overall message of this article is laudable. However, as a critical thinker, it really, really irritates me that the author put soda and cocaine on the list. Who, pray tell, is using either of these for their health? No one, right? Why does it make sense, critically to mention them? It doesn't, right? For me, fuzzy logic like this undermines an article asking us to use our brains and make better judgements.

  27. Nicole says:

    Waylon!…come on!

    If we're eating gluten-free, aren't we already reading labels and discerning the negative vs positive effects of different types of fats and sugars?………really? Because there IS a difference and this article decides to ignore that while being all curt. obnoxious. and harmful to the gen pub.

    Read Wheat Belly or any other QUALIFIED sources out there on gluten, how its been altered, and its effects on ALL of us…..not just those that are diagnosed with full-on Celiac disease. Going gluten-free can help MOST of us. Again, this is just harmful to those who don't know better

  28. Celiac Mom says:

    Wheat now is not the same as it was 60 years ago. Sorry to burst your bubble but most Americans cannot process wheat. It has created intolerances as well as allergies. I'm intolerant, my son has Celiac. My oldest boy has ADHD and Aspergers…it's been shown that wheat and milk are two of the greatest culprits. You do not know what you are doing when you discredit so many professionals and individuals who have symptoms of a gluten intolerance and more. Please don't use mainstream media to support your position. That's already proven to be unreliable. Since when aren't they bought and paid for by big business…and I'll be damned if the food and drug industries aren't big business. One is in bed with the other. Sad affairs in this country.

  29. Teresa says:

    Amen, I wholeheartedly appreciate the call to skepticism toward corporate health fads. It’s so disheartening to see companies vie to exploit their customers’ interest in health and well-being. Eating real, sustainably and ethically produced food can be an act of political conscience!

  30. Marlene Martin says:

    8 years ago, I suffered from a very bad bout of candidiasis. I went on an an elimination diet for 6 months and my candidiasis decreased until I had no symptoms. When reintroducing wheat back into my diet, I suffered stomach pains, swelling, and sinus issues. I went to the doctor and was given a blood test that determined I did not have celiac’s disease. I consulted with my doctor regarding my symptoms, and- simply put she said, “Those are allergic reactions. Don’t eat wheat.” Several times since, I have attempted to reintroduce wheat into my diet. Unfortunately, every time, I have experienced the aforementioned symptoms. I don’t like gluten free bread substitutes. I enjoy whole grain breads. But I can’t have them. Because it hurts and makes it difficult to work and live.

    I eat organic produce and avoid processed foods (they make me feel yucky too) but I miss bread, and good pizza, and some of my childhood favorite foods that were always made from scratch by my grandmother, from the whole foods my grandfather grew in our big backyard- no- wheat wasn’t one of them. It does touch a chord in me when I read this article… Because if I could, I would not be gluten-free. I do eat quinoa and brown rice and buckwheat and millet, but I miss crusty bread and even- dare I say- croissants. So, please be more careful when speaking about a condition most of us have no control over. The truth is- it kind of sucks… Even when you eat well.

    Thank You.

  31. Miranda says:

    It is a disservice to share an “opinion” piece on a medical allergy. This article is narrow minded, insulting, and simply incorrect. Two years ago, I found out that Gluten was the cause of my debilitating migraines. I cut it from my diet and have been headache free since. I feel really judged when someone thinks I am Gluten Free to lose weight or be part of a “fad.” This article could have been more accurate, health conscious, and enlightening.

  32. Okay so as a holistic Nutritionist I just wanted to make a comment/suggestion here. Gluten is not good for any of us because of the way Gluten is now. Some of us show a strong reaction to it and some show no visible or apparent reaction but our body is definitely not liking it. Does that mean I do not eat the occasional slice of pizza or grass fed burger? No, it does not. But do I buy the hybridized processed bread products, no, I do not. And I actually feel like if you are not Celiac or have a major problem/reaction and you jump on the fad wagon and completely are strict about it, you can actually cause yourself to have a severe reaction in the future where you cannot have even the occasional slice. If you are a health conscious foodie such as myself the thought of giving up bread is scary……but there are amazing bread companies out there now that are making their bread in the traditional way which is using a sourdough starter/fermentation process and allowing the bread to rise on its own. My girlfriend who has severe reactions can tolerate this bread;) You can find a recipe for this Traditional way of making Bread in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. Or you can go to your local farmers markets that is where you will usually find these amazing bread companies and ask how they make their bread? Love your publication by the way!!! Thanks for keeping it going;)

  33. Keri says:

    I get what your saying about health bandwagons. Whole foods absolutely should be the focus. I’ve been GF for seven years and haven’t had so much as a cold or flu in that time after a lifetime of ill health. I’m not a celiac but eliminating wheat from my diet was nothing short of miraculous. I’m worried that had I read this seven and a half years ago, I might have disregarded something that could have been life changing for me. I get your point but you overreached.

  34. msannomalley says:

    What bothers me about the "fad" is that those who legitimately need to eat this way feel stigmatized. I fear it's only going to get worse when the "fad" is over and the food industry jumps onto the next big bandwagon. I have friends who have Celiac's and they have no choice but to eat this way. I don't want to see them lumped into the same group as those who jump on whatever bandwagon without doing their homework first, because that's not fair.

    But I think we can all agree that there is a segment of our population that wants the "easy" fix and will follow whatever is being marketed to them without actually doing things like reading labels or doing their homework on gluten-free foods.

    I'm not a doctor nor am I a scientist, but IMHO the rise of gluten-intolerance is a mix of more awareness about it and eating foods made from GMO wheat. Instead of buying into what food companies sell, I wish people would also work harder to demand GMO labeling in the US and access to more non-GMO foods.

    I think the point that was being made here was to do your homework. Read labels, do your homework, and don't buy into the marketing.

  35. Kalina says:

    Clearly research for this article wasn’t fully done because almost all sodas are not gluten-free.

  36. ella says:

    As a celiac, dairy intolerant, sugar free IBS sufferer with major digestive malfunction… Why would you want to do this to yourself? To be thin? (Yes yes… This is actually why mist people do it…) Well it works but not in the way you’d hope. Boobs tend to be one of the first things to shrink, just so you know. If its weight loss only cut down on sugar and processes foods and exercise. Don’t emulate sick people. Being sick is no fun. Life is depressing when you can’t eat….

  37. Heather says:

    Gluten free is not a fad. It's science that has only recently become well known.

    Before the "fad," people simply suffered their entire lives with ailments like IBS, arthritis, and depression (and take prescription medication to manage the symptoms).

    To the author: You should try a gluten-free diet for six months then write about your experience. You'll most likely be surprised by how much better you feel. I'm sure most readers would welcome such a follow up.

    You should also realize that someone with gluten intolerance may have worse symptoms than one with celiac disease. After ingesting gluten, I am immediately doubled over in pain and stuck in bed for days, yet I don't have the gene that also destroys my small intestine (thank heavens). Someone I know with Celiac gets a little diarrhea, but the gluten is wreaking her intestines. Celiacs most definitely are not the only ones gluten affects.

  38. Ciara says:

    Great article, in essence. Yes, all those replacements for foodstuffs that contain gluten are just a big list of lab ingredients, and not at all something we should be eating. I always thought it seemed bizarre to give up something for health reasons and then go and start eating things you never would otherwise. However, while there is always the people who get sucked into a fad, I do believe this epidemic of gluten intolerance is real, simply because we have stopped eating a seasonal diet where our bodies have a rest from certain foods at different times of the year, and now eat wheat based products for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as snacks in between. Personally, I think the idea of our bodies reaching a saturation point after a lifetime growing up eating like this makes a lot of sense of what is happening.

  39. Nutrition is actually really easy to understand. This article contains some good points, yet I disagree with the notion that only 1% of society needs to avoid gluten. As an inflammatory mediator, the many types of wheat products seem to cause the worst reactions due to their genetic modification of the original seeds, and the farming methods and depleted soils. That said, for most people oatmeal is just fine – although it contains gluten. Processed "crap" is not good for you whatever label you put on it. I suggest readers begin by reading labels and educating themselves on what each ingredient is.

  40. Laura says:

    Waylon, I think that while your overall message (just because a processed food is labeled “GF” does not mean it is healthy) was spot on, what seems to have rubbed some people the wrong way was your generalization and assumption that the majority of people going GF these days are uninformed, bandwagoning hypochondriacs who don’t deserve to call themselves gluten sensitives because they are not among the percentage of people who have been formally diagnosed with celiac disease. As you can probably tell from the comments above, that isn’t the case. Many research-backed articles about Frankenwheat and leaky gut leading to gluten sensitivity are available on the interwebs and people are smart enough to gauge what is going on in their own bodies. Not to mention not everyone has had health insurance for the last decade or so, so going for rounds of expensive tests to get a doctor to tell you what you already know is out of the question, especially when the medical community is just now realizing what is going on anyway. However I do believe there is more to this story than just gluten sensitivities and I believe that missing link is yeast overgrowth. Yeast (candidiasis) can cause problems similar to gluten and can be exacerbated by sugar, alcohol, caffeine, grains, citrus, and more yeast. Many people (as with gluten) don’t realize they have a yeast problem until it is out of control. We have all been given an over abundance of antibiotics whether we have actually taken them or not- they are in our food supply, same as there are traces of Prozac and birth control pills in the groundwater. These all lead to problems with a decrease in healthy intestinal flora and leaky gut, which cause very real symptoms that cause us to look for solutions, and changing our diets is the best place to start. Yeast and gluten sensitivities often go hand in hand and once that balance is tipped in the direction of having a digestive sensitivity then it is difficult and painful to correct it. The bottom line is, as you said, all of our bodies are being bombarded with environmental pollutants, and all benefit from a clean, non-processed, plant- and clean meat-based (if you eat meat) diet. The problem isn’t the sheep, it’s the shit diet the farmer keeps trying to feed the sheep to make more money.

  41. Jessica says:

    Read the book wheat belly…Enoughg said

  42. Jed says:

    Gluten causes inflammation of the brain for more than 90% of us, aggravating all sorts of problems, according to recently released Grain Brain. Up to half of us are also intolerant, while 1 to 3 percent have Celiac and must avoid Gluten at all costs. Wheat Belly is also a must read book. Read both, then write this article again…

  43. Andrea says:

    Totally agree! I have Celiacs and eat mostly fruits, veggies and chicken/fish. The gF products are overpriced, overloaded with calories and sugar and too fattening. Most of them still have gluten in them, even below 1% is harmful to me. It is a capitalists dream, selling bread at 3 times the price because they can.

  44. frances says:

    I love bread. Gluten makes it tasty! Many of my friends have become gluten-free (for now…we'll see how long it lasts) and they don't have celiacs. For those 1%, it is necessary to shun "the gluten." Moderation, people. moderation.

  45. Meg says:

    I appreciate the sentiment of the article, but I think it has been misinterpreted by many – I think the author is trying to point out that going GF isn't a fad, and that it doesn't mean you are eating "healthy" just because you're eating GF. I have Celiac's Disease, diagnosed three years ago. My father (who is a doctor, I might add, and stubborn as hell) was finally diagnosed almost two years ago. The first sign in our family, though? My older sister who does NOT have Celiac's Disease, but is highly gluten sensitive. She cut gluten out of her diet and her entire world changed. Her skin, her weight, and other things that do not need to be mentioned changed drastically.

    All in all, the gluten we cut out was the obvious- no breads (besides the odd GF English muffin) and cutting out gluten otherwise. It's really not that hard to eat healthy, gluten free or not – fruits and veg, minimal or no GF snacks once in a blue moon (cookies, crackers, etc)… I really don't understand how people have such a problem with this!!!

  46. Tracy M says:

    Ummm… she says in the beginning: "Celiac here too, and 100% with you on that one. I understand that a lot of people feel better w/o gluten even if they don’t have CD (my husband, for instance), but damn, wish I could eat a sugar raised doughnut just one. more. time. But then it would be off to the ER for me, so, no."
    I think people are so hyper-sensitive and defensive about this topic… yes, many people are not just celiac, they are allergic or intolerant… she seems to acknowledge this… she's saying, for the rest of us, "enjoy" yourself! Eat one for her! Don't be a lemming! Eat what you can and don't eat what you can't! PEOPLE! You really need to get a SENSE OF HUMOR! It's a HUGE fad right now and there are some really beneficial nutrients in gluten products! I am now hypothyroid because I was vegan for years and years and I ate/drank too much soy… good LORD, what a bunch of uptight individuals! Spread some JOY tomorrow to atone for your stick-up-your bum today!

  47. natasharenee07 says:

    I agree with the main point here: gluten-free junk food is still junk. But in the foods that you list, the unhealthy culprits are sugar, grains, and additives, not the saturated fat content, or eggs, or a high calorie count. We know now that the saturated-fat scare was completely unfounded, and that animal fats from well-raised animals are really good for you. Maybe we can't all tolerate butter and cream, but there's no reason for everyone to be so scared of it. I'd much rather eat a high-fat food that's high in calories and actually going to keep me full than the gluten-free fluff that manufacturers are targeting toward me.

    Also, just because someone doesn't have to go to the emergency room because of eating gluten (or even with a milder reaction like I do) doesn't mean that they should eat gluten for the sake of those who can't. I get that it's a joke, but come on – we know wheat isn't a health food, whole or otherwise. There certainly aren't any essential nutrients in it that we can't get elsewhere, like a source from which we might actually be able to absorb them.

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