Poor reportage on Gluten-free diets

ABC Nightline TV program did a segment on Gluten-free diets a couple weeks ago that was quite superficial and just perpetuated this idea that going ‘gluten-free’ solely means finding substitutes for favorite things like bread & cupcakes. They noted the explosion of GF ready-made products and interviewed celebs who promote GF. They also interviewed an MD who claimed the lack of gluten could be unhealthy, as in a lack of fiber and the vitamins added to ‘enriched’ wheat products. Well sure, if you don’t eat other healthful foods! DOH!  Seriously, how unhealthy are Thai or southern Chinese people, whose cuisines have very little gluten?

Hello, GF products are still processed foods! Better reporting would have included the observation or opinions that expanding one’s food horizons beyond ready-made pastas & bread — GF or not — often can lead to eating less processed food, more whole grains and, gosh, more other kinds of nutritious food.

This broadening of food choices can lead to a better diet. This conclusion seems obvious to me, regardless of the mixed-bag conclusions from research studies of a gluten-free regimen.

AND, by the way, this reliance on wheat products  is so culturally North American/Western-centric. The variety and quality of cuisine that many Americans now value in their cities & neighborhoods is due to non-Northern, non-Western food cultures. Ones that use a lot of other foods than processed wheat products. Consider Thai curry on rice, Vietnamese ‘pho” soup, pork verde tamales and Italian pasta with red sauce. I love them all, BECAUSE they are deliciously different. Don’t you?


One thought on “Poor reportage on Gluten-free diets

  1. Kristin Beltaos

    Hi Tracy! These are all very good points!

    I am always amused about how our society has evolved to processed foods being a norm. While from time to time one may need to depend on a product for convenience, a steady diet of these products only leads to further health issues. I am as guilty as the next, but a thought to ponder is, How did we ever survive before the tv dinner?

    I can answer it…we took the time to make our dishes, the time consuming and the quick ones. Growing up, I rarely sat down to a meal that was from a box. A different time I suppose, nostalgia is getting the best of me. ; )

    Keep up the great commentaries!


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