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Gluten hysteria is just that - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [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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Comments:
[User Picture]From: hugh_mannity
2012-01-12 04:16 pm (UTC)
One of the problems with wheat -- or so I've heard -- is that the current type of wheat grown is very different from that grown as little as 50 years ago. It's a dwarf type which makes for easier harvesting. But it has more and different gluten which has contributed to to the rise of gluten sensitivity.

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[User Picture]From: anivair
2012-01-13 01:38 pm (UTC)
One of my biggest problems is that our wheat is all fortified with, among other things, follic acid. The government thought this was a great idea a long time ago, but what they did not know at the time was that follic acid makes it much easier for you to get things like breast and colon cancer (they added it to counter neural tube defects, a "plight" that used to kill about 30 people annually ... less than vending machines). IMO, we're better off leaving natural foods alone. they know what they're doing.
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[User Picture]From: hugh_mannity
2012-01-13 02:22 pm (UTC)
Oh definitely -- it's one thing to selectively breed animals to have useful to us and non-harmful to them characteristics, or to create tastier better-yielding food plants (apples being a good case for domestication) with *natural* resistance to their traditional pests.

It's another thing altogether to adulterate food by adding "healthy" things to it -- folic acid, artificial vitamins, minerals, etc. Especially when the original, unimproved, unprocessed food contained most of that stuff anyway.

And don't get me started on GMO. (Because (a) this is not my journal and (b) my blood pressure is getting enough of a workout politically these days).

BTW -- may I add you to my friends list?
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[User Picture]From: hugh_mannity
2012-01-13 02:33 pm (UTC)
Oh definitely -- it's one thing to selectively breed animals to have useful to us and non-harmful to them characteristics, or to create tastier better-yielding food plants (apples being a good case for domestication) with *natural* resistance to their traditional pests.

It's another thing altogether to adulterate food by adding "healthy" things to it -- folic acid, artificial vitamins, minerals, etc. Especially when the original, unimproved, unprocessed food contained most of that stuff anyway.

And don't get me started on GMO. (Because (a) this is not my journal and (b) my blood pressure is getting enough of a workout politically these days).

BTW -- may I add you to my friends list?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)