Gluten free – a fad

I have a pretty visceral response when I hear people, usually millennial women who are young, ill-informed, and eager to dive into a trend, discuss how bad gluten is for you and your health. Because you could probably assume that they all got educated and have their BAs in nutrition science, they must know what they are talking about, right?

So someone in one of my college alumnae groups posted a pretty straightforward question that… because I am cynical, I was not expecting the responses she got. She asked what the benefit of a gluten-free diet is if you do not actually have a gluten intolerance. I was terrified of reading the comments until I realized that pretty much every single person responding was saying there was little to none.

In general, gluten-free alternatives have been shown to be worse for people from a cardiovascular perspective because they are generally less whole grain and have more sugar to make up for what we perceive to be a stranger texture or taste. It’s kind of like the same rationale that vegan food has: if you take away the goodness of the animal product, just make up for it by adding more of something else deemed “bad” for you, whether that is sugar or salt! Whole grains and whole wheat are actually really good for you, and it’s hard for me to read publications that say otherwise. It’s almost as painful as reading when all these stupid paleo diet websites talk about how evil beans are. Anyone who believes that should go to Italy or Japan and ask them what their opinion of that is.

I think for me, the biggest issue I’ve had with the gluten-free trend is that I feel the worst for people who actually do have autoimmune disorders where their bodies truly cannot process gluten; these individuals end up getting taken far less seriously because of the current trend, and they end up getting judged for just being one of the dumb millennials I referred to earlier. I also do not really believe in “good” vs. “bad” foods; I prefer to think about all foods in moderation, though the “healthiest” diet is definitely heavy on the fruits, vegetables, and legumes side. I don’t think anyone has really argued against that as of yet.

Shortly after reading this post, I was also craving bread this morning. And because our office manager is amazing, she always make sure all the bread here is whole grain or whole wheat. Even she has our health in mind.

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