DietGimmicks

Gluten free food – is it a supermarket gimmick?

By March 13, 2012 7 Comments

Something landed on the front page of smh.com.au today which raised one, two or even three of my eyebrows

I’ll admit, it was between laughing at a Chris Brown video and reading a deranged tale about some bloke who made his own piss dungeon.

True Story.

Gluten free food is such a hot-topic right now

It’s easy to see the correlation between the sudden influx of super market items which are deemed wheat free, gluten free, everything free, and what’s being publicized in the media. Does this make it a supermarket ploy though?

Are we being led down the path of purchasing gluten-free products which cost double to triple the price of regular goods in a vain attempt of ridding ourselves of something we all seem to know little about?

What makes me think the majority know very little about gluten sensitivity

I read commentary on various articles which go something like the following:

There is no need to avoid gluten unless you have a medically diagnosed intolerance such as Coeliac disease. I was misdiagnosed with Coeliac for a year and trying to avoid gluten not only made eating less enjoyable (sorry Coeliacs) but also much more expensive. Don’t fall for this being cleverly marketed as a fad diet, gluten is by no means a poison to everybody!

Until further investigation, it is easy for most people to misinterpret what they’ve read on the internet. Why’s that? You say…

Because Gluten sensitivity (intolerance) and Coeliacs Disease are two different things

Just because you went to the doctor and the tests came back as ‘negative’ for Coeliacs Disease, this does NOT void you from being sensitive to Gluten.

On the contrary.

Of course they do correlate, but often gluten sensitivity and Coeliacs Disease can be separate little SOB’s. I know many people that have an intolerance to Gluten (one of the 17% of the western population) as opposed to having Coeliac Disease (1% of the western population). My wife, it would seem, is one of the 17%.

A lot of us suffer from varying degrees of Gluten Sensitivity

Despite the fact that a lot of us are unknowingly gluten intolerant to some degree, there’s a HUGE (growing) list of symptoms:

• Abdominal Distention
• Abdominal Pain and Cramping
• Alternating Bouts of Diarrhea and Constipation
• Anemia
• Arthritis
• Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
• Autism
• Bloating (see Gluten Intolerance Bloating)
• Bone Density Loss
• Borborygmi (stomach rumbling)
• Constipation (see Celiac Disease Constipation)
• Stunted Growth and Failure to Thrive
• Depression, Anxiety and Irritability (see Celiac Depression)
• Dermatitis Herpetiformis (skin rash)
• Diabetes
• Diarrhea
• Fatigue…

And this is just the tip of the iceberg – The list goes on!
Click here for the full list of symptoms

With so many gluten associated symptoms, it’d be easy to put two and two together wouldn’t it

“Oh yeah, I have 2 or more from that list, I must be gluten intolerant and have a mild case of Coeliacs Disease”.

But that isn’t the point of this article…

The point is whether we are all being exploited by the supermarket giants or not. The fact that a packet of Gluten-free sandwich wraps are $6.80 and a packet of regular ones are half the price would lead me to think that perhaps we are being exploited.

Then I figure supply-and-demand is playing its part in the equation.

If a tenth of the food items on offer are gluten free, it would make sense that those in the minority would have to be slightly more expensive to produce.

Where we need to be careful of gluten-free products

There’s a tendency, with every new fad or product that hits the shelves toting that it’s ‘this FREE’ and ‘that FREE’, to think we can all change our eating habits. Just because it’s gluten-free, doesn’t mean it’s any better for you.

Gluten free products are still filled with calories and need to be regulated just like everything else you consume.

A huge positive of gluten-free eating and limiting your grains

The importance of fiber is well documented, so I’m not telling you to stop eating your grains all together. Heck, I wouldn’t give up eating a Pana De Casa with my wife’s Mussel dish any time soon! All I’m saying is, reduce the amount of breads and wheat-filled products that you have on a daily basis. Bloating, skin irritations or any number of those nasty ‘symptoms’ on the list may subside and you might just feel better for it.

Further reading on Gluten Sensitivity and Coeliacs Disease

Sarah Wilson wrote a great piece on everything involving Gluten and how it can lead to Coeliacs Disease in the long term.
I suggest you check it out >

Clint’s Note: What are your thoughts? Is gluten free food a supermarket gimmick?

Clint Nielsen

Author Clint Nielsen

Clint is a dad and husband trying to stay in shape. He's also a highly opinionated fitness enthusiast and author of Reveal The Steel. Follow him on: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Google+

More posts by Clint Nielsen