Gluten-Free: Healthy or Hype



Gluten-free is healthier. Really?!

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 2.35.21 AMDear Diary,

I’ll be the first to admit that I like a short cut.  Whether it’s to avoid LA traffic or staying in shape without putting in the hard work. Squeezing in a daily sweat doesn’t always happen with me.  Don’t get me wrong, I always have great intentions, I sometimes even buy inspirational workout outfits to motivate myself.  However, I mostly end up lounging in those outfits while watching shows like The Biggest Loser over a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked.  (In my defense, it’s their new FroYo line.)  So when a diet trend hits the market that is healthy and doesn’t rock your normal routine, I’m always open to being a guinea pig! But mostly just a pig…  You know you’re on a bad path when you own odd, useless SkyMall magazine and QVC workout equipment that are guaranteed to give you contoured abs without breaking a sweat. (I mean, who likes ruining a good hair day?) I loved that Ab-Blast belt and was sure I could feel it working until it actually electrocuted me. Yeah, you can take that one off the ol’ Christmas list…

The latest food trend is gluten-free.  We’ve all seen the rise in GF products in stores, on menus and even in pet food and beauty products.  I of course had to test out this trend over a pan of gluten-free brownies.  They were tasty and I could barely tell the difference. Crazy, since they’re oh so healthy, right?!  I might as well eat the entire plate because it’s a diet food so it doesn’t count.  Wrong. Unfortunately, after some research I learned that gluten isn’t an unhealthy thing. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley and because of its binding nature it’s also found in soups, cereals, salad dressings, sauces, etc…

However, some people have an allergy to it and celebrities (Miley Cyrus, Gwenyth Paltrow, Victoria Beckham, etc…) gave it a soap box, so marketers ran with it and companies are profitting off the craze. This misconception and the growing demands has brought it to a 4.9 billion dollar industry!  (Betty Crocker GF cake mix is $1.50 more than the non-GF one.) Which doesn’t correlate to the actual people affected by celiac disease.

Celiac disease is basically a gluten allergy.  Symptoms include fatigue, rashes, joint pain… For others who are gluten intolerant or sensative to wheat products, they have trouble digesting gluten so it may cause stomach pains. As I suspected, GF products can’t magically whip me into shape.  Sadly, junk food is still junk food.  Gluten-free brownies are still a dessert and it doesn’t mean it’s a healthy dessert alternative. Damn.

Professional tennis player, Novak Djokovic, had a breakout season starting in 2011 after going gluten-free because he is affected by celiac disease.

Just some food for thought…


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