I was listening to one of my favorite morning sports radio stations the other day and heard a promotional ad for the Gluten Free Allergy Fest coming up at the Minneapolis Convention Center. I have no problem with the concept of the convention, but part of their pitch was that it was for people who “chose” to live gluten-free. I was ready to pull off the road and rip out my radio and call the radio station to revolt against such an advertisement on my favorite station, but then I decided I’d better find out some more information first.
I understand that there are many people living with Celiac disease, which is where your body is not tolerant to gluten in foods. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, so any food item that contains wheat or a wheat bi-product could make them sick. The actual number of people with this disease in the United States is unknown, but according to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, 1% of the population has the disease. Another way to think of it is that for every 133 people, one person is gluten intolerant. That’s a pretty small percentage compared to the people who have tried out the fad diet.
Here is an interesting video that Jimmy Kimmel did for his late night television show:
Many celebrities and fad dieters have endorsed going wheat or gluten-free because it’s so healthy for you. It’s a fact that a gluten-free diet can lack many vitamins, minerals, and fiber needed in a healthy diet. The misconception that it “makes you feel better” by not eating wheat is not usually true, but more in a person’s head that they think they feel better. Also in order to find out if you have Celiac disease the test requires that you’re currently eating a normal diet which contains; fruit, vegetables, dairy, meat, and fiber.
If you honestly are unable to digest gluten and the test results come back that you have Celiac’s disease, then please do educate yourself and try to eat as healthy as possible. My wife is a kitchen supervisor at an assisted living residence and has just started to see the small impact of having someone with these problems. It’s hard to imagine what schools, hospitals, and other facilities with food service must be challenged with in providing healthy food choices.
The problem that I have is the person who thinks that they are healthier without wheat in their diet. Talk to any level-headed doctor, nutritionist, etc and they’ll tell you that wheat is a very important part of your diet and is in many of the foods that we eat.
For those of you curious about the conference, here is a link.
Moral of the story for me today: listen to the entire message and don’t believe everything you hear!
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