“The swelling ranks of Americans adopting gluten-free diets have given rise to another hot trend: people calling the whole thing a bunch of baloney. ” according to Ellen McCarthy at the Washington Post.
I’ve noticed this very occasionally, but on the most part I find the majority of food servers and hosts to be very helpful and cooperative, which is all I want. I don’t want to be a pain in the butt but I do need to eat gluten-free.
A survey by the NPD group, a market research firm, says that almost a third of adults in the US are reducing gluten in their diet or avoiding it completely. I hate to say it but this does sound like a fad. Something like 1% of adults are estimated to have celiac disease, and many others have some sort of gluten intolerance. I doubt that the number of people who legitimately need to avoid gluten is as high as 30%. On the other hand, many people have told me that when they cut out gluten, they feel less tired, so there could be something to it. Whether this is due to avoiding gluten, or the sorts of foods that are made with gluten – high glycemic index, highly processed foods such as bread – is the problem or the gluten itself is open to debate.
More research on this is required to know for sure.
Apparently, a film crew sent out by Jimmy Kimmel, a late-night show host and comedian, found that most gluten-free dieters didn’t actually know what gluten was. While I’ve found most restaurants that claim to have a gluten free menu to be knowledgeable, some are not, which is a problem for people like me who absolutely must avoid gluten, but if most gluten-free dieters are on a fad, they won’t know when the wool is pulled over their eyes. This makes the job of avoiding gluten for those who must rather more difficult.
Gluten Free Goes Mainstream – Challenges
Food companies large and small are jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon, with mixed results. For example, one local restaurant in my area advertised a gluten-free menu, but they were so clueless that they served me french fries that were deep fried in the same oil as battered items. So you can’t trust all gluten-free claims, forcing careful questioning of everyone whether they offer gluten free or not. This sometimes seems more wearing than in the old days when most people had never heard of gluten and I had to ask a lot of questions about what their food was made of.
While I appreciate the many gluten-free options on the market today, I also feel that in the old days, when I had to prepare everything myself, I ate a somewhat more healthy diet. Actually, I love cooking and still eat pretty healthy, but certainly there are many high-sugar, high-fat, highly processed gluten-free food options than there ever where. Still, I do love to eat that kind of food occasionally, just like anyone else.
What is your experience with maintaining a strict gluten-free diet when so many people see it as just a fad? Do you eat gluten-free because you have celiac disease or a gluten allergy, or are you just trying it to see if you feel better or loose weight? Please leave a comment.