Jimmy Kimmel Asks Pedestrians “What Is Gluten?”

Has anyone seen this video from Jimmy Kimmel?

Me oh my.

As funny as this video is, it is also a little embarrassing. It also serves as a great example of the “fad” side of eating gluten-free. These people are followers – they are eating gluten-free because everyone else is but have no idea what gluten even is or the real logic behind avoiding it! If someone told you eating only seaweed would make you live to be 100, would you jump on board without questioning it? I think not. Don’t be a follower! Make decisions for yourself, not based on everyone else’s experience. It’s okay to ask questions! Become informed!

Now, let’s clear some things up.

1) What is gluten?

Gluten is a glue-like (GLU-ten) protein compound that gives bread products and other baked goods their elasticity.

2) What products contain gluten?

As the one gentleman noted, gluten can be found in wheat, rye, barley and oats. However, gluten is also found in things like processed meats, salad dressing, gravy, soups, potato chips, and even beer! So if you are going gluten-free for health reasons, there are a lot of other foods you need to consider for elimination. (You can read more about eating gluten-free here!) 

3) Is there need for everyone to eat gluten-free?

No. There are people who have no choice but to eat gluten-free due to a serious illness called celiac disease. There are others who have a less severe reaction to gluten, similar to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and generally feel better eating gluten-free. Finally, there are others who have a true allergy to wheat products, similar to a peanut allergy. Outside of these actual health concerns, eating gluten-free may make you feel better, but it also might not.

4) Does gluten make you fat?

Not necessarily. Consuming gluten might contribute to weight gain BUT there are other food and lifestyle choices that should be considered first. (Gosh, if we followed all the gossip out there about foods that “make us fat,” we’d be left eating rocks!) Read some more misconceptions about gluten here

Now…all that being said, there are some discrepancies with the above information, particularly concerning the book The Wheat Belly. Dr. William Davis feels that “modern wheat is no more real wheat than a chimpanzee is an approximation of a human” and has concluded that wheat is the single largest contributor to the nationwide obesity epidemic. How can he make such conclusions? Well, when he asked his patients to give up wheat in order to improve their heart health, he found other unexpected health benefits associated with the elimination of wheat. (You can read about these benefits, as well as my thoughts on the book here!)

So, to gluten or not to gluten? Well, that’s up to you! You have to decide for yourself what food choices are important to you and what you feel is best for your body. Just please don’t base your decisions on what everyone else is doing or rumours you may have heard. Do some research and ask questions!

What are your thoughts on this video? Did you know what gluten was before reading this post? Do you think gluten is harmful to our health, even for those people without true health concerns? Why do you eat gluten-free?

3 thoughts

  1. Hello again. Yes, I knew what gluten was, and have vacillated on whether or not to eliminate it from my diet over the years. I do not suffer from IBS or any chronic abdominal distress (lucky me :-). I do, however, have a HUGE gut (definitely a concern), and although I generally eat healthier than anyone I know, I am much, much heavier! (current approach to that problem will involve dealing with unhealthy gut bacteria, clogged lymph drainage & slow metabolism, besides eliminating gluten, dairy, corn and soy)
    But then, to my surprise, I found that the famously controversial blood type diet book, Eat Right 4 Your Type (or something), said wheat (but not specifically “gluten”) is very bad for my blood type (A) and one of the leading causes of weight gain for me (except sprouted wheat bread). And I have noticed that I do seem to lose weight when I give it up – and even generally feel better! So that’s one of my goals for the near future, as a test. (And lucky me, unlike most people I read about, I LOVE the taste of gluten-free products almost more than the wheat versions!)
    Interestingly also, I’ve had some other confirmations of accurate info in that book, btw. For instance, I thought I could not eat beans because of the severity of the flatulence when I did. But then, I discovered it was only the type of beans I was eating that were the problem (cannellini, chickpeas, kidney, which it claims are “detrimental” or “neutral” to my blood type). On the other hand, pinto, black, and adzuki (sp?) beans, black-eyed peas and lentils are said to be very beneficial to my type. And to my utter amazement, when I eat those beans, I experience no flatulence at all! In fact, today, they are staples in my diet! Thought I’d share that, since you probably don’t have a high regard for that book. My opinion is that altho’ I doubt that everything the author claims is accurate, some of it is not only accurate but very helpful. Worth a look anyway. 🙂
    Wow! Am I the “long comment” queen or what? Sorry about that. Definitely not in the habit of even writing comments, let alone long ones. Guess you’ve inspired me to share!

    1. Funny you mention the blood type diet, we were actually talking about that in my class yesterday! It seems there is actually some truth to the diet and some people really do function better on certain foods based on their blood type. I personally have not read that book but would like to look into it for future reference!

      The problem with wheat and wheat-based products today is that they have been so highly processed that they are void of any useful nutrients really, and are basically just a mix of sugar and additives. This is what leads to weight gain. So removing these refined products from your diet will indeed aid in weight loss! Be wary of gluten-free products though, as they generally are higher in sugar, salt and fat than their regular counterparts. The use of gluten-free ingredients leads to a funny taste as you mentioned, so food producers add in extra salt, sugar and fat to make the products taste better, while simultaneously making the products less healthy – yikes!

      That is really interesting about the beans/legumes. Glad you’ve found success with some beans/legumes, as they are not only delicious, but very healthy foods!

  2. Wow, what validation to hear that in your class they said there was some value in that book, since mention of it usually leads to sneers & jeers (an exaggeration perhaps, but only slightly, lol).What encouraging news to know that there are even academics who have found value & truth in it! I think you will find the book very interesting.

    The biggest – & most helpful – surprise it held for my daughter (Type O) & myself (Type A), both of us struggling with weight issues, was the discovery that my lifelong diet (high animal protein, mod fat, low to mod carb) has been the opposite of what is best for me (plant-based), while her high carb/low animal protein diet is the opposite of what would be best for her (Paleo). And the confirmation for me (she hasn’t tested the info yet) was that when I did the Body Ecology diet 15 years ago (anti-candida, low complex carb, mostly plant-based), I lost 70 lbs in 7 months, & when I did the Fuhrman Eat to Live vegan diet 2 years ago, I lost 30 lbs in 6 weeks! Felt great on both also, although I prefer the BED & found it easier to follow (came to dread those huge Fuhrman salads with fat-free dressing!) Sadly, however, they are both hard to follow in my present environment.

    In case you are wondering, I’m sharing all this with you, by the way, on the chance it may be helpful to you someday in your future practice! I know I learn a LOT from other people’s anecdotal experiences. Hope you don’t mind.

    Anyway, thank you for the warning about the “gluten-free” products! I have been noticing all the additives in them myself, & it’s probably the extra sugar they contain that appeals to me, lol. But I was really talking more about things like buckwheat, millet, amaranth, & GF oats (not to mention almond & coconut flours). Quinoa I’m not a big fan of (don’t like it & it also seems to put weight on me), but I am a fan of the other grain-like seeds & nut flours, especially buckwheat. My favorite pancakes, for instance, (& my granddaughter’s) are made with equal parts buckwheat & GF oat flour (home-ground), ground chia (or flax), soy milk, egg & maple syrup (altho’ I look forward to trying your 2-ingredient version soon). Of course, I’ll be trading that maple syrup in for Stevia soon, but fortunately, I like that well enough also!

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