Gluten, the plague?

Do you remember the Low-carb craze of the late 90’s, or the Low-fat diet of the late 80’s?

Wheat belly or Gluten-free, now that is the new black.

We obsess about what we put in to our bodies down to the micronutrients, but do we stop to question our understanding of what food really is?  Recently, I have been hearing all these stats about how we spend more time than ever WATCHING food TV and less and less time actually MAKING the food. A quick search yields that in America, women and men spend 35 and 14 minutes a day preparing food, respectively. Even more, 10 or 2 minutes to clean-up, again respectively.  Now what we can draw from this is, that men are very efficient at cleaning up, or that they aren’t doing it.  Brits are about the same on average 38 minutes cooking the evening meal (previously was 1 hour in 1980 and 100 minutes in the 1960’s). But dude, seriously, what can you clean in 2 minutes! A take-away box, maybe some pizza leftovers… definitely some beer bottles?  Less time spent with food is less time understanding it.

You want to be thin, feel good, sleep better, and be less bloated; maybe trim the fat a little? – so do I. I think most of us subscribe to this.
Watch this clip from Jimmy Kimmel, hope you get a chuckle.

If you want to know more about what gluten really is read below.  Notice how each of these interviewed were avoiding gluten like it’s the good-citizen thing to do, y’know, to the best of my ability I do avoid it.

Now I’m not sure why you would avoid gluten without actually knowing what it is, but here it is:

Gluten. is not a flour derivative *ehem cough* of wheat.  Yes, it is found in wheat, oat, rye, barley, spelt.  It is a complex storage protein consisting of gliadin and glutenin.

Avenin. is the storage protein in Oats – but most oat fields are contaminated by surrounding wheat or rotated crops.  In recent years, there have been some ‘gluten-free’ oats. 1 in 100 people in Ireland that have celiac (coeliac) disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation of the villi in the small intestine and other body systems. Contrary to common belief there is no gluten in rice.

‘Gluten-free’ is a 5-billion dollar global niche food industry that doesn’t always have consumers’ best interest at heart.  If consumers are misinformed, it is not their job to steer consumers straight.  In contrast, avoiding gluten can be harder than you think as it may be found in many processed and manufactured foods.  Think of all the pre-made sauces, seasonings, soup mixes you might ingest on a regular basis.  If you thought it was just breads, pastas, and baked goods, think again.  Soy sauce- yup.  Sausage- maybe. Spices- check again. Beer -yup.  It really is quite ubiquitous.

The cost of gluten-free foods is significantly more, so much so that there is a tax credit available for diagnosed celiacs in Canada.  Avoiding gluten without a proper diagnosis can lead to nutritional deficiencies or even a misdiagnoses of other food sensitivities.  There are serious concerns for celiacs who don’t avoid gluten – but maybe we’ll divulge another time. All I’m saying, is this is sometimes more of a cash grab pitched to the wrong people, more than anything else.

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