Gluten-Free Diets are Stupid

If delivering a speech about this topic, I would probably take a tone like this... 

We’ve all been hearing a lot about gluten-free lately.  You probably have some friends that swear by it and maybe you’ve even jumped aboard the gluten-free train.  Well, despite the two of us maintaining fairly healthy diets (at least during the week), gluten-free is something we’d never try and is actually pisses us off to hear how food corporations have fooled so many Americans into thinking this is a smart way to eat.

There’s a lot of confusion about why gluten is bad for some individuals.  Gluten is a protein found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye.  Some people have a celiac disease, a serious autoimmune disorder that destroys the intestinal tract, or wheat allergy that means gluten must be eliminated from their diets.  But only 1 in 133 people have this problem!  For the rest of us, consuming products with gluten can actually be good for your health.

You might be thinking, ‘But the people I know who have gone gluten-free say it’s made them feel much better!’ Well that may be true, but it’s not because they stopped eating gluten.  It’s because this diet forces them to bypass many processed and chemically enhanced ‘cheap’ carbohydrates found in desserts and snack foods.  People mistakenly attribute feeling healthier to no gluten.

To make matters worse, going gluten-free can be dangerous.  Ingredients in whole wheat, rye and barley (such as fiber, iron, folate, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus and zinc) are associated with a reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and obesity.  Gluten-free products contain very few of these nutrients but tons of calories.

Food corporations are capitalizing on this craze by introducing gluten-free products that Americans mistakenly identify as healthy options.  Gluten-free is actually a $4+ billion a year industry!  But since gluten is often replaced with oil, butter and eggs, these products may have less nutritional value but more calories. 

ABC provides some good examples: ‘A slice of regular whole wheat bread contains about 69 calories, 2 grams of fiber and less than 1 gram of fat, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional database. Depending on the brand, a slice of gluten-free whole wheat bread may have 20 to 30 more calories, double the fat and half the fiber.’

A gluten-free lifestyle is expensive too – both financially and socially!  Throwback recommends you stay healthy by limiting your junk food intake, especially heavily processed foods and items containing white flower, corn and sugar.  Don’t go nuts – bread, pasta, Mexican food and sweets are just too delicious to avoid all the time.  But don’t spend your hard earned dollars on more expensive, nutritionally inferior sans-gluten foods unless you truly are allergic. 

And check out some other foods that get a bad rap, courtesy of Business Insider.

Written by Ryan