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The Gluten-Free Diet Fad

I was watching TV the other night, when Channel 4 kept giving a teaser for the 10 p.m. news - about the "gluten-free diet fad" - will it really help you lose weight? I waited and waited and finally after 25 minutes of "news and weather", they got to the story. Basically, they said that gluten is found in wheat, and most people don't really need the diet.

Excuse me?

Then I did a search tonight... googled "gluten-free diet fad" and couldn't believe what I read. Some people write about gluten-free people being snobs, and not really needing gluten-free food but just want the attention. Some people write that all poultry is ok, but that is misleading as any poultry or other meat with injections and additives usually have a gluten product in them. .

Here's a link to one of the stories: - she barely mentioned oats (a responsible reporter would have mentioned that oats are usually contaminated from wheat being grown nearby but "certified gluten-free oats" are ok for gluten-intolerant people). And it's not true that chips are always ok ... many many times they use fillers that have gluten in them.

Gluten-intolerance MAY be a diet choice for some people, but those people don't really understand the diet. The products aren't made to reduce fat and sugar and cholesterol and sodium and calories, but only take out and replace products made from wheat, rye, oat and barley, including maltro-dextrin, soy sauce and more. So... are these people completely deleting from their food intake sodas? Candy? Sweets of all kinds?

People, come on! A gluten-free diet won't solve your problems; eat less and work out more.

This isn't a joke. Some people need to be on the diet, or they will die. Celiac disease is a serious auto-immune, digestive disease. Why would someone choose to put their kid on this diet if they didn't have to? That means no fast food, no birthday parties with other kids, no cereal with goofy characters on the boxes. Really? Parents would choose to pay extra money for special gluten-free products? Ha! Not likely.

No, my kid isn't celiac, but gluten-products, along with cashews, soy, corn, peanuts, cow's milk, preservatives and fake colors can turn my sweet boy into a hellion... going from nice to unbelievably horrible and suicidal within moments. Plus he's a very picky eater. When we find something he can eat, we stick with it, which he's ok with.

For me, I get a rash all over my body when I eat gluten. It's called dermatitis herpetiformis, and it's absolutely not fun. Gluten also messes up my ovulation cycle (which is why I can't get pregnant), but that's just me and hasn't been medically proven.

Enough of my rant. Input?



Mimi said...

I'm with you. Unfortunately it has become a "fad" diet. People with real gluten problems couldn't eat the stuff that is written into these "Gluten-free" plans. People who can tolerate glutens should not just stop eating them. They should just eat healthy and exercise. It is just silly to me that someone is trivializing Celiac and gluten allergies as a weight-loss gimmick to make money.

leah mcgrath, RD, LDN said...

if there is a good side to this is that the more people(even the ones who want them as a fad diet) request these products the more manufacturers make them, the better they are, the more available they will be at mainstream supermarkets(like ours) and the less expensive they will be.

Anonymous said...

Small correction to be made: Maltodextrin is gluten-free.

Anonymous said...

Well put! I too am a Celiac and my daughter and son are as well. We don't "choose" to eat gluten-free-it is a mandatory lifestyle. I get tired of people saying that gluten free is the "buzz" word and that people don't believe we will die if we don't adhere to the diet. It is time for everyone to get educated and see the reason we have to adhere to the diet. This is not a fad! My daughter missed half of her childhood days missing birthday parties, pizza parties in school, etc. It was not fun and my heart broke everytime they had something in the classroom where she felt left out. We don't chose to eat expensive food either. But by people saying it is a fad diet it pushes the price of GF food up.

Anonymous said...

I wish,,,, My DS has 29 allergies and I have even more. Going GF has helped alot, So has going CF/EF/SF/CF/and all the other things we are avoiding. It has made a remarkable difference in my life, apparently there is life outside the bathroom,,, unfortunately,,,now that I am no longer living in the bathroom, I have not lost any weight. I actually get to keep the nutrients I eat...

Diane-The WHOLE Gang said...

There is so much misinformation out there that it can really drive you nuts. I don't have celiac disease but I'm extremely intolerant of gluten. It was not a fad diet choice for me but one for survival. I now teach people how to shift away from gluten and hopefully not rely totally on pre-pared gluten free products. Using whole food ingredients to cook with is your best bet and always check before you put it into your mouth. Well, lucky them that they don't need to live gluten free, or do they? Many people don't even know they have Celiac Disease or like me where gluten was making me sick. We'll be here for them when they're ready to really learn. Good post!

Bellen said...

Had a health food store - not a vitamin store- for about 12 years. I saw the gamut of gluten intolerance, from minor to so full blown they were even unable to lick the wheat based glue on envelopes!! Customer discovered this when doing Christmas cards - so much for her joyous holiday as she spent much of the season at the Dr's trying to figure out what triggered her reaction.

Fad diet, maybe, but for the vast majority it is a reality that must be dealt with. Good work you're doing, keep it up.

ThrtnWmsFam said...

Anon 11/15 4:56: Maltodextrin is NOT gluten-free unless it specifically says it's made from a gluten-free item like rice, corn or potato. USA requires maltodextrin to be made from these 3 ingredients, but foreign products don't. Supposedly they are supposed to list "wheat maltodextrin" as the ingredient, but since when is labeling 100% accurate? And do the manufacturing plants who produce maltodextrin clean the machines to make sure there is no gluten residue? My rule of thumb: assume it's from wheat unless otherwise specified.

Now... some people say that there's so much processing involved in making maltodextrin that even if it is from wheat, it's gluten-free.

Grain-of-salt time.

Keep in mind that lots of products, including many chapsticks, hand lotions, etc. have a gluten-product in them, so read labels. Same with medicines... ask your pharmacist for gluten-free meds.

Bellen: good remark about the glue on envelopes. Lickable stamps have the same problem.

Thanks for all of your input!