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Gluten hysteria is just that - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness Page 2 [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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Gluten hysteria is just that [Jan. 12th, 2012|09:55 am]
Zoethe
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In the long quest to find The Answer To All Diets, people rush from one fad to the next, one year embracing cabbage soup, the next eating nothing but bacon and steak. One year gulping down juice fasts, the next eschewing fruit entirely. We want the golden ticket, the easy fix. And every guru who comes down the road with proclamations of the One True Way leads people in his or her path, the newest Pied Piper.

Eventually people grow tired of eating in the prescribed way and drop out of the parade, feeling like failures. Then the voices of science and reason begin to penetrate the insanity, and most people return to their previous weights, discouraged and cynical, but waiting for the next bandwagon to jump aboard.

Currently, that bandwagon is gluten. Gluten is the Great Poisoner of People. We're told that the staff of life is EEEEEVIL, and that we can all be thin if we just stop eating bread. People are swearing off gluten left and right. Gluten-free substitutes crowd the grocery shelves.

I admit that I have a personal interest here. I am, after all, a bread baker. It's dismaying to read that this food I love is the Cause of All Fatness. It's also very suspicious to me, because people have been eating bread for centuries. Our obesity epidemic is a recent phenomenon. So the assumption that bread is the root of all evil doesn't make much sense to me.

Now, there is no doubt that certain medical conditions preclude the ingestion of gluten, particularly celiac disease. But for people without that disease, scientists are now warning that gluten avoidance may be bad for their health. This article from the Atlantic Monthly warns that cutting gluten out of our lives may lead to other deficiencies. And that there is no scientific evidence proving that gluten ingestion causes weight gain.

I concede that some people DO lose weight on a gluten-free regime, but that appears to spring from a general improvement in their diet: less fast food, more fresh fruit and veggies. The elimination of bread isn't the key.

So once again, it's sensible eating that makes the difference. Not some secret ingredient. There's no magic bullet.

Crossposting from Dreamwidth now. Sigh. If LJ won't let you comment, you can comment here: http://zoethe.dreamwidth.org/790171.html?mode=reply:
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From: anonymousalex
2012-01-12 06:49 pm (UTC)
Well said.

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: merle_
2012-01-12 06:50 pm (UTC)
My mom has been freaking out about gluten and the probability of heredetary celiac for years now. Guess she's at the head of the fad curve.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-13 12:51 am (UTC)
She's a gluten hipster.
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[User Picture]From: letoile82
2012-01-13 12:14 am (UTC)
I think some of the fad diets do work for some people - for example, my dad LOVES the Atkins diet, and lost a decent amount of weight without any negative health effects that we know of (cholesterol is fine, for example). But for the average person, I think a healthy diet that includes fresh fruits and veggies, low fat, and more whole grains rather than white bread, is the ideal solution. Personally, I have tried many diets and I do best with Weight Watchers. I don't have to cut any food completely out of my life, and I just watch my portions and make smarter choices. I just hate having to calculate the damn points.

In other words, I agree with you. Haha.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-13 01:03 am (UTC)
Different things definitely work for different people.
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[User Picture]From: weirman
2012-01-13 01:22 am (UTC)
Anyone who has ever been to France would know that bread is not the source of evil fatness. They eat bread like crazy and they're some of the thinnest people I've ever seen.

I've been getting into juices myself this year, not to lose weight but because I hate vegetables. I'm getting to the age where heart disease starts to crop up in my family so if juicing will allow me to get the vegetable content I need to counteract that, then I'll grit my teeth and drink the damned juice. Fortunately, I've been finding combinations of things that are actually pretty tasty. But I'm not doing it for weight-loss. The only thing I've ever found that really worked was exercise and sticking to it.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-13 02:00 am (UTC)
Yes, exactly. The French!

And yes, exercise and moderation are the only things that actually work.
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[User Picture]From: hippie_mamabear
2012-01-13 06:09 pm (UTC)
My husband lost close to 100 lbs by cutting out wheat and corn products (granted, corn syrup is included in 'corn products').

He eats a lot of things that most people don't consider healthy (namely bacon and copious amounts of eggs).
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-13 06:38 pm (UTC)
It works for some people, of course. It's just not the Great Answer to Everything.
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[User Picture]From: hippie_mamabear
2012-01-13 06:53 pm (UTC)
Except for the people that it IS the great answer to everything to. Those folks, you'll never convince of anything otherwise.
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[User Picture]From: shandra
2012-01-13 07:13 pm (UTC)
I think whenever people make a big change in their diet, they have a period of time when they've broken old poor habits, and tend to see results. Whether those results stick around or not is dependent on not reintroducing bad habits or developing new ones - and not usually the whatever-the-fad was.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-13 10:48 pm (UTC)
Exactly.
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[User Picture]From: amberite
2012-01-14 03:59 am (UTC)
Look up "celiac iceberg" on a journal abstract search...

Some people are misinterpreting it as a fad diet (including some people who are cutting out gluten for faddish reasons); but there's something else going on, which it would behoove you to remember. The number of people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance is about ten times the number of people diagnosed; getting diagnosed is not always easy and depends on how well-informed your doctor is; and *for* those people with a gluten intolerance, it often *is* a magic bullet. A very common symptom is being either overweight with no explanation (as in, low calorie diet and lots of exercise and still overweight) or underweight with no explanation (it's often misdiagnosed as eating disorders - read the first chapter of Jerome Groopman's How Doctors Think for a classic example) but there are tons of others, and it can masquerade as almost anything.

Fortunately, there are some simple blood tests that can pick up on it. But see the disclaimer above about the need to have a well-informed doctor.
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[User Picture]From: ivorywitch
2012-01-16 12:32 am (UTC)
Good gods at all the comments. I didn't read them all, but I am sure someone else agrees or has said that the constant consumption of the grains, the starches, the false fats, preservatives, colorants and other unnatural substances add to real foods, coupled with the near constant consumption of 'edible food-like substances' and empty calories from sugar laden drinks or poison laden consumption of no calorie beverages is the real culprit. We have no portion control, in word, thought or deed, and that includes eating. We eat emotionally, and often. There is no magic bullet, just like there is no such thing as 'fat free' or that gluten free isn't going to help if you don't overhaul the entire idea of eating. If it doesn't rot, sprout or spoil then for heaven's sake DO NOT EAT IT!!!
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