My Pet Peeve: Gluten Hype

What’s your biggest pet peeve?  Lately, with all the hype about gluten and it’s presumably terrible implications, I decided it was high time to set the record straight.  It really irks me when I hear about people avoiding gluten because it’s a diet fad and they think it’s healthy for them to avoid it. Please educate yourself. With a Bachelors in Bakery Science (yes, it’s a legitimate degree), I’d like to think I know a thing or two about gluten, and it is good for you! There are numerous benefits of eating wheat a other gluten containing grains. Whole grains have a variety of nutrients including fiber, protein, iron, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, and zinc. Check out what all these things do for your body at the Whole Grains Council website.

If you really want exposure to even more nutrients, a healthy combination of whole and processed (white) grains is the way to go. Why? Because, as white bread is processed, the bran is removed which contains most of the fiber and nutrients so you’re left with the starchy endosperm. However, they add back nutrients that are different than what would naturally be there into the flour, like folic acid. So by consuming both white and whole wheat, you can obtain a broader range of nutrients for a well rounded diet. In short: eat your grains peeps!

This post originated from reading a recent article on Today.com. It addresses the myth of the “gluten allergy.” There really is no such thing as a gluten allergy. You can have a wheat allergy, but that is unrelated to the gluten in wheat. Gluten is one of the proteins in wheat. Celiac Disease and gluten-intolerance are another thing. Only approximately 1-2% of the population is affected by Celiac Disease and it can take years to diagnose. Only those actually diagnosed with Celiac or a gluten-intolerance need to avoid gluten. Those who avoid gluten because they think it’s healthy and a way to lose weight: you have been fooled by the media! In fact, most gluten-free breads, crackers, baked-goods, etc.  actually can cause weight gain because of the added sugar and calories to make it taste and look closer to the real thing. Plus, they’re more expensive.

Buzz words. Don’t be fooled by the buzz words either. Tortilla chips with “gluten free” on bag drive me crazy! Of course those chips are gluten free, they’re made out of corn! Same for potato chips. I love how they play on society’s ignorance. Of course, if that’s your favorite brand and they just happened to change the advertising on the bag to say “gluten free” then by all means, buy it. But don’t pay extra for it!

Ok, rant officially over. Thanks for listening!

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