Food For Thought

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?