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Published 3 years ago with 3 Comments

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  • LacquerCritic
    +6

    It's a complex discussion in my mind. The people I know who have actual celiac disease have had no complaints about gluten as a trend because in the past five years, the number of options available to them at the grocery store and at restaurants have skyrocketed, and the prices have come down significantly.

    As well, some people who decide to eat gluten free DO experience health benefits as a result - but often because they're eating fewer grains overall and replacing them with vegetables, legumes, and lean protein, which is typically a healthier diet.

    That being said, I don't support the spread of misinformation such as "gluten free is just inherently healthier", but it's one of those things where if an acquaintance or coworker chooses to eat that way, it's hard to argue that they're harming anyone most of the time. I have some vitamin supplements I take that potentially don't offer me benefits when my diet is balanced, but I take them anyway - not sure I can judge other too harshly.

    • Wexler
      +4

      I tend to look at it this way. While misinformation in general is a bad thing, and the whole phenom of "self-diagnosis"/"EPIDEMIC OF HEALTH CONDITION X" is generally a bad-thing in terms of actual health(but GREAT for marketing) - the whole gluten-free thing has done wonders to what you mentioned above.

      Sadly, I suffer from an embarrassing case of IBS, and gluten-free consumables tend to off-set my discomfort quite a bit. So long as "faux health epidemics" create a new market, that actually benefits SOME people, I could not care considerably less for the hypochondriacs. After all, the placebo-effect is an actual thing with real-world benefits.

      On the opposite side of things, we have blithering idiots like the anti-vaccine movement, who's "health choices" affect everyone AROUND THEM as well as themselves, which leads to an overall less-healthy general public.

      Things need a little balance and consideration is all.

      • LacquerCritic
        +2

        I'm so glad you've benefitted from this new market generated. In a much less serious way I've also enjoyed the fruits of this fad - I eat a low carb lifestyle because it helps a lot with other health conditions, and gluten-free food has led to increasing popularity of things like seaweed snacks, riced cauliflower (amazing!) and other low carb options. So I probably should've admitted to being biased in my original comment, really.

        Actually, now that you bring it up, it seems like this gluten-free fad is one of the few relatively harmless health misconceptions. The anti-vaccination issue is one you've mentioned as extremely harmful (and I agree) and another I can think of involves misconceptions around antibiotics, particularly in Asia. (The latter I recently heard some fascinating information about regarding tracking of bacteria resistant to multiple kinds of antibiotics within Canadian hospitals - we live in a trepidatious world, it sometimes seems.)

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