What’s Eating You

Breeana Leyva, Opinion Editor

For many of those living with celiac disease, the recent onslaught of gluten-free products can be that of a godsend. From gluten-free crackers to beer, every food manufacture is capitalizing on the need for foods that help accommodate those with the dietary need. Crash dieters looking to lose the extra pounds are also flocking to a gluten-free lifestyle. Unfortunately, the notion of living “gluten-free” has been mudded by celebrities and food companies alike.

In a survey conducted by market-research based firm, Packaged Facts, 35% of consumers were swayed into buying products labeled gluten-free, merely because they thought they were “generally healthier”, while another 27% said they bought theses products to help maintain their waist line.  For those who are simply following the band wagon, the total elimination of gluten from a diet could potentially cause more damage than good.

In an article written for WebMD, “Gluten Sensitivity: Fact or Fad?”, Doctor Stefano Guandalini, gives some insight on the recent popularity of this diet. Stefano, president of the North American Society for the Study of Celiac Disease, states that the biggest issue with following this trend is the consumption of too much fat and too little fiber. “Someone who needs to be on a gluten-free diet and is closely monitored can benefit tremendously from it,” he expressed, “…but for everyone else, embracing this diet makes no sense.”

The effects that celebrities hold on impressionable youth are unquestionable.  Everyone wants to emulate their icon, whether it be what they are wearing, to how they style their hair.  With social media the way it is, fans are able to be connected with their favorite celebrity round the clock. Twitter has been the main source for many to get instant news. Recently, gluten-free diets have permeated the celebrity world. Most notably, Miley Cyrus, took to Twitter on April 8 to discuss her recent weight loss.  “For everyone calling me anorexic I have a gluten and lactose allergy. It’s not about weight it’s about health. Gluten is crapppp anyway!”  With this signal boost, many people are reexamining what they eat.

In Naci Hellmich’s article written for USA Today, “Is Gluten-free a Lifestyle or a Diet Craze?”, Hellmich interviews Judi Adams, president of the Wheat Foods Council,“… the people who are using it as a cleansing diet or calorie-controlled diet are using it as a fad diet, and as we all know fad diets do not work long-term.” With the thousands of fad diets that are available, it is amazing to know that they all share the same outcome, they do not work. No matter what you do, you will inevitability gain everything you lost doing these so called “diets”.

With celebrities promoting gluten-free living as a quick fix to shed unwanted pounds, and food manufactures misleading consumers into thinking what they are eating is better for them, dieters should be forewarned before delving in to a new diet.  Speaking with your doctor can help ensure that you take the safest route to healthy eating. Diets are not meant to be long term; instead striving for more balanced meals accompanied with regular exercise. This can be the recipe you need to live a happier and more healthful life.