Consumers waste billions on gluten free food

From Time Magazine:

A new survey from market research firm the NPD Group finds that America is cutting gluten out of its diet in a big way. Just under one-third of 1,000 respondents agreed with the statement: “I’m trying to cut back/avoid Gluten in my diet.”

Interesting information considering only approximately one percent of the population actually would benefit from a gluten free diet.

As food fads go, though, this one’s not only enormous: It’s enormously expensive — and many of us paying a premium to avoid gluten are doing so without any legitimate medical reason.

First of all, why is gluten — a protein found in wheat, rye and barley — so bad? Well, for most of us, it isn’t. The University of Chicago’s Celiac Disease Center estimates that more than 3 million Americans — about one in 133 — have celiac disease, in which consuming gluten triggers a serious autoimmune response in the digestive system. A larger number — exactly how many has been the source of debate, with studies some claiming as many as one in 16 Americans and others saying  far fewer — have a less-severe sensitivity to gluten that causes gastrointestinal distress.

We’ve found this trend to be true. As I teach cooking classes, more than once participants have requested that we teach a class on full fledged gluten free recipes. So far, we haven’t done so for a couple reasons. First, we want to make sure this isn’t a dietary fad. Secondly, gluten free ingredients are exceedingly expensive for many of our participants.

Healthy eating shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg.

“We’ve come to address health as something beyond removal” of ingredients, he says. In other words, we’ve abandoned the idea of deprivation and decided that instead of simply eating less to feel better and be healthy, we’ll just eat different stuff. “The concept of being on a diet is, I think, losing favor even if you are watching what you eat,” Balzer says. “It’s so much easier for Americans to say I’m concerned with wellness — I’m on a gluten-free diet.’”

This is why we love a plant based diet: healthy people worldwide live long healthy lives eating this diet. The longest lived people on the planet live on a plant based diet. Plant based diets are low in calorie density and high in nutrient density.

It doesn’t get much better than that. 🙂

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