Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online)

2/21/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Gluten free is latest fad diet, quacks cashing in.

Gluten-free diets are all the rage, stimulating a $2.5 billion (and growing) market for gluten-free foods, fad books, and quack remedies. While there are a number of people who require a gluten-free diet, the heavily marketed, yet questionable scientific claims have a number of people spending extra money just to cut out a component of their diet that is entirely harmless.

Gluten free books and supplements are great for the food and drug industry, but they may not be right for you. Ask your doctor.

Gluten free books and supplements are great for the food and drug industry, but they may not be right for you. Ask your doctor.

Highlights

By LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/21/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Home & Food

Keywords: Gluten free, gluten, food, fad, diet, eating, health, doctor, supplements, pills, caveat emptor


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Gluten is a component protein composite found in many grain-based foods, especially barley and rye. The substance is entirely natural and gives dough its elastic quality and bread the chewy texture we often enjoy. Because gluten is a protein, it is an important part of human nutrition. In fact, gluten is often added to low-protein foods to make them more nutritious. 

Humans have been consuming gluten since prehistoric times and except for the rare cases when an individual has an allergy to it, it has proven harmless, and in fact beneficial -- providing essential protein to our ancestors. 

So why all the hysteria?

Gluten is a concern for the approximately 6 percent of Americans who have a genuine nutritional disorder that prevents them from safely consuming the nutrient. However, odds are that you are not part of that 6 percent. Only a doctor can safely and correctly diagnose a gluten allergy and prescribe a strict diet that ensures your health. Otherwise, the vast majority of people who are "discovering" the gluten free life are actually depriving themselves of nutrients at the prompting of market-savvy advertising. 

This is a choice that should only be made on the advice of a professional, personal physician, and should not come from a book, infomercial, or anyone who is self-styled as an "individual/personal consultant." Note the agenda. Your physician has years of medical school and is bound by an oath and a professional duty, (not to mention legal liability) to diagnose your condition following scientifically controlled, standardized tests. Everyone else wants you to buy something based on self-diagnosis - or worse. And they will be quick to make statements to limit their liability because they know the claims they are making are not based on broad scientific consensus and lack formal (FDA) approval. 

However, as fads come and go, gluten free is the latest in a series, and it is a rapidly growing multi-billion dollar industry. It makes sense that marketers and quack doctors will capitalize on the opportunity to make a quick fortune.

But it's harmless, so what's the problem?

If a gluten-free diet is harmless, then why criticize it? Why not let people eat what they will - isn't it better to be safe than sorry? The problem is that any medical condition that is diagnosed or treated without the advice of a professional, practicing, personal physician is inherently dangerous. At a minimum, dieters are depriving themselves of nutrients. 

Still, there is no evidence that depriving oneself of gluten is actually harmful, at least not from a medical perspective. However, it can be expensive. Gluten-free pastas, breads, and other products cost much more than their normal counterparts - and that's only the start.

In addition to paying more for food, those who follow the gluten-free lifestyle soon find themselves purchasing "supplements" and books which part them with their cash far better than helping them achieve better health. 

But it gets worse. According to several anorexia awareness websites, the gluten-free diet is also being used as a cover for people with eating disorders. One anorexia commenter has even gone so far as to refer to gluten free as the "best diet trick ever." That's because the gluten-free lifestyle, while designed to save the lives of some patients with genuine allergies, is also being used by others to conceal eating disorders. 

In any case, gluten-free is very much the latest fad diet. Like all others, it will fade with time. Most of the people who follow the fad will only be poorer for their efforts, but are unlikely to suffer any ill effects, so long as they avoid the supplements, which may carry their own risks. 

For those who have gluten allergies, the recent fad should provide a boon in the form of more offerings on store shelves, so there is a silver lining to this. 

But for most Americans, struggling to put groceries in their cupboard and fighting to maintain their health, following fad diets and quack doctors will only delay, or at worse, set back efforts to manage their health effectively. The gluten-free fad is just the latest pitfall for consumers. Caveat emptor!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Home & Food

Bacon is good for you? Here are 5 incredible reasons bacon actually helps your body Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Bacon is one of the most popular foods ever created; more and more people crave the crunchy, sweet and salty piece of meat. People even express the love they have for it by celebrating a nonofficial, International Bacon Day. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Do 'superfoods' really exist? One study takes a closer look at the magic of blueberries Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil

Once again, the case of "superfoods" has been tried to see whether they are really worth the cash and the hope of good health. A show conducted a trial at Newcastle University, after recruiting five ordinary women to test whether eating blueberries regularly does have ... continue reading


Green potatoes? Must be St. Patrick's Day Watch

Image of COLCANNON DELIGHT - Everyone thinks of corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day, but this unique Irish dish made with potatoes and kale can become the hit of the meal.

By Augusta Scattergood (The Christian Science Monitor)

My younger daughter was born one day shy of St. Patrick's Day. We named her Kate for her Great-Aunt Kitty because we loved the name, not because she was Irish. I didn't understand then that a strong ancestral link could be forged with a country across the sea. My ... continue reading


'What's for dinner?' 15 of the strangest things people actually eat Watch

Image of weirdworldfacts.com

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

People often disagree on eating certain things. From exotic animal body parts and things not considered food in general to some items' wild preparations, various delicacies are available for those seeking palate adventures. Some are even rated deliciously. [media ... continue reading


Experts say skipping meals and fasting could be healthier than eating three full meals a day Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Eating three square meals a day - breakfast, lunch and dinner - is not necessarily helping our health, according to various studies by experts. In a recent report by the Mother Jones website, it is said that there are no actual evidence that support the practice of ... continue reading


First protien-counting Smart Jar promises to push your kitchen to the next level Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you're having a difficult time measuring nutrition, the solution will soon be available. Neo Smart Jar by SKE Labs is officially the first high-tech jar innovation that can be connected to the Internet and can be synced to personal devices. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES ... continue reading


Stop making excuses! 8 easy tips on how to eat healthier Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

When it comes to food, it's easy to get into the same bad habits. Sometimes it's easier to go for the fast food rather than making your own meal. Sometimes it's just cheaper to get the fattier foods. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - It's also so easy to switch up ... continue reading


Non-browning GMO 'Arctic apple' to be deregulated in United States Watch

Image of Arctic apples will be first promoted under two versions: the Arctic Granny and the Arctic Golden. Different versions will be offered in the near future.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Man has meddled with Mother Nature - sand has since come up with an apple that neither oxidizes nor turns brown. Developers of the "arctic apple" have discovered how to inhibit the browning enzyme. While this would improve the shelf life of certain fruits, it ... continue reading


4 heavenly Valentine's Day recipes for two Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's Valentine's Day and you forgot to make the important reservation at the hottest restaurant in town. You're panicking; what are you going to do? No one wants to see that disappointed look on their loved one's face. Breathe... We have here for you, four amazing and ... continue reading


You can stop avoiding chocolate now: 5 surprising reasons why chocolate is actually good for you Watch

Image of Dark chocolate is actually really good for your health.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Chocolate, everyone loves it. And nearly everyone feels guilty about loving it. It's that "guilty pleasure." You may be receiving loads of chocolate now, because of Valentine's Day. Avoiding it is near impossible, but you don't have to steer clear anymore. It's time to ... continue reading


All Home & Food News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ezekiel 37:21-28
21 say, "The Lord Yahweh says this: I shall take the ... Read More

Psalm, Jeremiah 31:10, 11-12, 13
10 Listen, nations, to the word of Yahweh. On the ... Read More

Gospel, John 11:45-57
45 Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 28th, 2015 Image

St. Venturino of Bergamo
March 28: Dominican preacher and missionary crusader. A native of Bergamo, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter