Thursday, August 12, 2010

Today Show Gluten free

Yesterday the Today Show aired a segment about the gluten-free "fad".  Basically, the expert said that a gluten-free diet is not necessary and has no benefits.  I disagree.  I do not eat grains, so I am gluten-free by default.  I feel so much better without gluten.  Health problems that I would never have even connected to diet have cleared up.

The expert also said that a gluten-free diet is restrictive, expensive, and difficult to follow.  I disagree with these statements too.  Yes, it took a while to get use to the whole no bread and no pasta thing but now I don't even want those foods.  They just don't register as food.  There is a plethora of gluten-free foods found in nature.  Peaches, steak, salmon, apples, and bananas come to mind.  It can be expensive but it doesn't have to be.  All of the foods shown on stage were processed foods, which of course cost more money than fresh foods.  At the grocery store I noticed a gluten-free cake mix for $6.  A pound of grapes is only $.99 this week.  The grapes are more nutritious and much cheaper than the packaged "health" food!  I don't find a diet full of yummy whole foods to be difficult to follow.  If we really want to eat a piece of bread, cake, pizza, whatever we use our 20% fun food budget.

Here is the video clip in case you missed the show.

*There might be an advertisement for margarine before the clip plays.  I DO NOT advocate eating margarine.  It isn't food.

What is your opinion of the gluten-free fad?

(This is my first time embedding a video clip so please let me know if it doesn't work)


Karla said...

I have to say I like watching the Today show on occasion, but I don't trust any of the information on it :-)

We're just a small family of said...

I have refrained from commenting on this particular topic, but you asked....:)

I have to say, I think it's a total fad. Too much of the american diet is comprised of grain, period, so yes people feel better when they replace their monochromatic meals with more veggies, fruits and lentils, but was it because they cut out the gluten or just upped the nutritional ante?? In most cases, I would say it's the latter.

We have seen this all before with the vegetarian fad. Way too much of the american diet is comprised of animal protein, and as a result, tons of people lost weight and felt better when they cut out meat and increase their intake guessed it, fruits, veggies, and lentils! But was it because or some toxic effect of the meat being removed from their diet, or just adjusting to a more nutrient-rich way of life...again, I believe it was the latter.

Now, of course, like many vegetarians have discovered when they unknowingly chowed down on some hidden meat, once you completely eliminate anything from your diet, especially a protein, your body looses the enzymes necessary to digest it, and when you suddenly add it back in, you are going to feel ill, but it's a temporary effect until your body readjusts.

So, in summary, I think gluten-free has it's benefit for those with medical conditions, but on the whole, I think 99% of people would feel just as good by reducing their intake of gluten-containing foods and increasing their intake of (say it with me! :) fruits, veggies and lentils. And, as boring and ho-hum as it sounds, the best, most sound, and long standing advice anyone can follow when it comes to diets goes back to the old adages of 'everything in moderation', 'variety is key', and 'too much of even a good thing is not good'.
Just my two (or three or four) cents :)

Jennifer said...

I think it is certainly possible that gluten-free is a fad. There is no way to tell what scientists will discover in the future. One good thing that is coming of the gluten-free debate is that scientists are looking at what medical implications (positive and negative) gluten has on a diet.

Personally, I think gluten may have been responsible for my migraines. I have had debilitating migraines since I was 4 years old (complete with aura, nausea, sensitivity to light, sound, and smells, etc.). I do not have migraines as long as I keep my gluten intake low. I can have a little as long as it is truly a little bit.

I think my main problem with the Today show video was that it only showed processed gluten-free products. I think it would have been better had they suggested using whole foods such as fruits and veggies.