The Wisdom of Going Gluten Free

There’s a new article in the NY times about the euphoria around going gluten-free:

Alcocer was excited, too, as usual. The Cornell University graduate was once a captain in the Air Force, where he worked on decoys to confuse enemy missiles and became a Global Positioning System expert who negotiated international treaties on behalf of American interests — heady, scientific stuff. But this job, he said, is just as important as his former military duties. He’s in charge of selling products to a large and once-unknown consumer population: gluten-free America.

“We’ve got food everywhere,” Alcocer said from atop his chair at the expo. “It’s coming out of everywhere. You can’t slow it down. We won’t slow it down.” He paused and smiled. “It’s like I’m selling cars up here,” he chuckled. “How do I get you into a Nature Valley bar today?”


When I read stories like this, I feel like Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings: This too shall pass.

If you have Celiac’s disease or some other allergic reaction to gluten, then avoid it. Otherwise, it makes no difference if you have gluten in your diet or not.

The venerable Jonas Luster said it best on Quora:

There is no wisdom in going gluten free. To some, a small, very small, number of people in this world, gluten triggers intolerances and can lead to a diminished quality of life if consumed. Those people, many of which are as appalled as I am by “normals” who think “gluten free” is the new “organic”, are forced to live a life consisting of a restricted diet. They’re not happy. They’d kill to have a normal gut, one that didn’t rebel at the presence of gluten.

As far as diet fads go, gluten-free is pretty bad. Worse than Atkins.

As a proxy for health, the term “gluten-free” means less than organic, fresh, raw, or vegan.

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  1. A deep-fried twinkie infested with saturated and trans fats can be gluten-free. I agree, the presence of gluten has very little to do w/ overall food quality, and is worse than other markers….and many of those are very imperfect.

  2. Jonathan Bechtel says:

    @GR….yeah, I agree. At the end of the day, I think most diet trends that give the impression of a free lunch tend to latch on and gain a critical mass pretty easily.

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