Well, it’s all over the place–health-food stores, grocery store isles-heck, even food at gas stations–all gluten-free.
In fact, I just saw:
Gluten-free blueberry cakes
Gluten-free white bread
Gluten-free potato chips
I heard a woman at the grocery store say into her phone:
“It’s so great that they’re offering us so many gluten-free products!”
I was thinking-“Absolutely not-the damn thing is a scam.”
Gluten-free scam: faulty science or slick marketing gimmick?
The problem lies in the bastardization of what truly healthy gluten-free food really is.
The “gluten-free” marketing craze is very similar to the low-carb lifestyle craze –(remember the name Robert Atkins)? Low-carb lifestyle plans (and the Atkins diet) are largely based on very sound principles.
They got twisted by food industries looking to make a quick buck so much so that someone would stuff their face with 2 hotdogs, a block of cheese, 5 sticks of pepperoni, an ironically fattening Diet Coke and some dangerous aspartame-laden dessert, and think they were eating healthy.
No choices could have been farther from healthy, and nothing could have been farther from a low-carb nutritionists’ recommendations; eating processed sh*t doesn’t classify as a “low-carb” lifestyle.
Now, after having failed, many of those same people sit in front of their computer eating Twinkies, Doritos, and a two-liter of Coke. All the while commiserating with the local mis-informed MSN commentary and agreeing “Boy, they’re right; I’m sure glad I quit low-carb stuff–sure is dangerous”.
Was their failure truly their fault? Not completely–their limited knowledge was exploited by the big food companies such that they could be sold sh*t (as long as it had low-carbohydrate levels), and they thought they were being healthy; they just didn’t know any better.
How does low-carb compare to gluten-free?
Good question: Both natural low-carb and gluten-free lifestyles are based on sound principles. It’s just that the marketing of them got exploited by companies looking to make a profit. But again, like simple carbohydrates found in sugar and grains, gluten can also be very damaging:
Gluten sensitivity, was once considered rare, now affects an estimated 1/3 of the North American population. In other words, there’s a good chance you’re sensitive to gluten. Because it affects people in different ways, there are also varying degrees of sensitivity. You may not even know you’re sensitive to gluten.
According to the Gluten Intolerance Group, 80 people are undiagnosed for every one person diagnosed with the gluten sensitivity. PubMed says that gluten intolerance is associated with celiac disease, and leads to symptoms ranging from fatigue, abnormal periods, and abnormal bowel movements all the way to intestinal cancer and lymphoma.
“But shouldn’t we should be thrilled with grocery stores are offering us gluten-free alternatives”?
Definitely not. To a large degree food industries aren’t interested in making you healthy. Instead, they provide products that they can make money from. So, remember those gluten-free cakes from the beginning of this article?
They also contain things like: sodium benzoate (also linked to hyperactivity in children), high fructose corn syrup, linked to leptin resistance and weight gain, and of course, sugar and processed flour, both which spike blood sugar levels, cause hormone fluctuations, and contribute to obesity.
So then, by eating these “gluten-free” foods, you’re actually getting fat, just like you would by eating other sugary foods.
“But Dr. Mike, you’re telling me that I shouldn’t buy “gluten-free” food from the supermarket. What should I eat instead”?
Great question–there are so many healthy meal choices that don’t contain gluten, there’s not enough places to write them in a complete blog, or a complete cookbook. To start, you would eat lots of healthy vegetables, some fruits, some meats, and nuts. In addition, you’d have plenty of snacks for being on-the-go.
Unhealthy wheat flour can be easily replaced by far healthier coconut flour and flax, and almond flour. There’s some great gluten-free choices (and ways to jumpstart weight-loss) here as well. For the indulgent times, you’d find a whole host of gluten-free dessert ideas and hunger cravings would be a thing of the past.
The whole “gluten-free” industry is just getting heated up, and there’s much more to follow.
But rest assured, the large consensus of people who are currently doing “gluten free”, will soon be trumpeting how it doesn’t work.
And make no mistake it won’t be for the ineffectiveness of the concept, it will rather be for the belief in the mis-information about what gluten-free truly is.
“Beware of false knowledge, it is more dangerous than ignorance” -George Bernard Shaw