What’s the Frequency Gluten?

22 Mar

(Before I go any further, yes that is a mediocre R.E.M. joke, how do you like that Kenneth?)

Anyhow, today I wanted to look into a topic that I have seen everywhere but know very little about. Gluten.

Image Via.

Chances are you’ve noticed, because I certainly have, that suddenly Gluten free products are popping up all over the place. I even recently noticed a whole Gluten free section in my local grocery store. According to Eating Well’s article, “Should You Go Gluten Free?”,

Packaged Facts [states that] 1,182 new gluten-free foods and beverages were introduced in 2008, continuing an average 33 percent annual increase since 2004.

So yeah, they’re started to pop up all over the place. But why? Well, there seem to be a few reasons. The top reason being something called Celiac disease. PubMed Health describes Celiac disease as

a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy. The damage is due to a reaction to eating gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats.

Reading that, it’s clear why those who suffer from this disease are forced to go gluten free. In addition to this, some articles seem to point toward the possibility that Celiac disease, while difficult to diagnose, is being diagnosed more frequently and that this is a reflection of the fact that as many as 1 in 100 Americans may suffer from this disease.

Image Via.

However, there seems to be more to the new proliferation of gluten free food than just those who are required to avoid the grain-made protein.

Health.com’s Sean Kelly asked the same question in his article, “Why Would Anyone Go on a Gluten-Free Diet if He Didn’t Have To?”.  And it looks like we’ve come to the same conclusion:

People who don’t have either condition are cutting gluten out of their diet in an effort to lose weight and cleanse their system. And that could lead to health problems—and even weight gain.

Diet schemes! Not like this is a surprising answer but what is more surprising is just how bad a gluten-free diet can be if you don’t have the disease. Many of our gluten-filled foods are sources for vitamins and minerals that are important for us to eat, a problem that those with Celiac’s have to face by filling in with the often more expensive gluten-free alternatives.

What’s worse though, is that going gluten-free can actually make it harder to diagnose if you do have Celiac disease.

So, while the “Gluten-Free Cooking for Dummies,” people want you to know that going gluten-free might make you less farty, among other things, they don’t tell you to remember your common sense.

If you do want to go gluten-free, it sounds like your first step should be talking to a doctor or a nutritionist to understand the repercussions of your actions.
So, what do you think? Do you know anyone who has done the gluten-free routine as a diet? As a lifestyle? Would you try it?


8 Responses to “What’s the Frequency Gluten?”

  1. Alicia March 22, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    I would not want to go gluten-free. From what I’ve read about it, it is a PAIN IN THE ASS. So many foods have gluten, and going gluten-free, even with more options out there, is expensive and difficult. I know several families who have children with Celiac disease, and they have a difficult time managing it, as well as cooking “normal” food for the rest of their family. This is not, and should not be used as, a diet craze. It’s a medically necessary nutrition plan. People continue to amaze me.

    • redshana March 22, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

      Yeah, when I looked into it that was the most obnoxious thing. It’s such a hard diet to keep on that it almost feels offensive when people do it that don’t have to.

      • Alicia March 22, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

        Offensive is a good word for it.

  2. Laura Poff March 22, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    I think the problem is when you don’t have full blown celiac’s disease, but gluten sensitivity. It is hard to diagnose, and the theory is that many people are suffering needlessly and without diagnosis. Everyone suggests doing an elimination test to see if you have gluten sensitivity, but if you don’t eat something for 30 days it seems to me like your body would always react negatively when you try it again (e.g., meat with vegetarians).

    There is also an argument that stems from the fact that North America has developed ‘super gluten’ to make our processed foods and that it has become prevalent in all our gluten sources and that it is not so good for us. So with the argument that the vitamins could be gained somewhere else more naturally than from processed foods, there is a widespread push to go gluten-free.

    Personally, I do believe that a gluten-free diet would be perfect for me, but I don’t want to do it for the inconvenience and price. I keep gluten in my diet just enough to keep from developing acute bad reactions to it, but try not to eat major sources of it like pasta and bread because I feel like crap after them. I was ‘diagnosed’ with IBS, but I honestly think I probably have a gluten sensitivity, but it’s like an allergy test: expensive and then your only answer is to avoid the source of discomfort, which is not what I want to do.

    Here’s an interesting, informative blog I found about the dangers of gluten: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/gluten-what-you-dont-know_b_379089.html

    • redshana March 22, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

      Yeah, I think I’m mostly hesitant because (as a bunch of articles have pointed out) the main reason this is a big deal right now is because Oprah and Jennifer Aniston both publicly went on gluten-free diets and now it’s become a fad.

      And the most similar thing I can think to compare it to is the Atkin’s diet. Which, was really successful and healthy for some but really unsuccessful and damaging to the health of others.

      As always, the real issue here is being informed about the choices you make.

      • Michelle J March 22, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

        I have type 2 diabetes, managed by diet and exercise… which basically means stay away from the processed carbs – including gluten.

        And I tell ya what, before I started avoiding “white” (bread, rice, sugar, etc.) I constantly had heartburn and exhaustion. I don’t get heartburn OR gas now. I have more energy. And I’m losing weight, a little at a time.

        The problem with most people who do Atkins is that they don’t read the whole book – they just read the “don’t eat fruits or (most) veg and you’ll lose weight like a champ!” The truth is that you can eat pretty much all the green veg as you want (spinach, kale, zucchini, broccoli, etc.) and should only eat the fatty meats and cheeses in limited amounts.

        That said, I’ve had much better luck with the 4-Hour Body diet which is basically Atkins with tomatoes, avocado and legumes (long burning carbs). I have tons of energy, too.

        • redshana March 23, 2011 at 1:56 am #

          What’s special (and important) about your response is that you clearly too the time to educate yourself about your health and have made informed decisions.

          Good luck on your journey to keep good health, we all know it’s hard!


  1. The Haves and Have Nots: Being Gluten- and A-Lot-of-Other-Things-Free « Uh-huh, yeah, write - May 17, 2011

    […] I’ve researched it and done a lot of trial-and-error. A friend of mine, Shana, posted on her blog about this subject. She brings up a lot of good points about taking the step for the right reason […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: