Nightline, an ABC news show, aired an episode last week where they discussed the gluten free diet, celiac disease, and living with celiac disease.
Personally, I thought this particular piece was pretty terrible.
Kind of horrific, in fact.
Before I go any further into my rant, here is the piece so you can watch for yourself. It was titled “Is Gluten Free Good?”
- They start off with touting all the celebrities that are on a gluten free diet, and then of course, Chelsea Clinton’s gluten free wedding cake. It’s portrayed as a fad diet right off the bat.
- Celiac disease isn’t even mentioned until almost 2 minutes into the 6 minute clip.
- Elisabeth Hasselbeck is pictured in front of a freezer, stating that this is where all her food comes from. WHAT?! Are you kidding me right now?! No mention whatsoever of ANY naturally gluten free food. You’d think that there is no life, or even eating, without pasta.
- She also states that she believes in “replacing” foods in a gluten free diet, not eliminating them. I would agree with this if by saying replace, she meant replacing refined flour items with fruits, vegetables, all the naturally gluten free bounty that nature avails us. But no. She was talking about replacing gluten breads and pastas with gluten free substitutes. Hence the need to stand in front of the freezer, and not in the produce section. In my article on my top 5 choices of gluten free carbohydrate sources, not one of them is found in a freezer.
- E.H. also encourages people to adopt a gluten free diet without any kind of medical testing.
- Dr. Green (bless his heart) mentions that there are no benefits for those without celiac disease to go gluten free, and that there is no weight loss guarantee on a gluten free diet, as we all know. I even did a 5 part series of posts about weight issues and the gluten free diet. You can eat a crappy nutrition yet calorie dense gluten free diet just as easily as you can on a “regular” diet.
- However, they also indicate that a gluten free diet can be dangerous. WHAT?!? Dr. Green actually says, and I quote “a gluten free diet is not entirely healthy.” I will give him a little slack, in the sense that if someone is only eating refined and processed gluten free crap, that they will receive even less nutrition than the standard American crap diet. This is true. BUT (and this is a big but, people, really big, the biggest butt of them all[ intentional]) a gluten free diet can also be incredibly healthy. You have to look at the big picture! Eat naturally gluten free real food. Meats, fish, poultry, veggies, fruits, dairy (if you can tolerate it, another can of worms for another day,) nuts/seeds, oils, nut butters, rice, potato, etc. There is a BOUNTY of naturally gluten free foods. I GUARANTEE that a gluten free diet can be extremely healthy. I GUARANTEE that you will get plenty of fiber if you just eat some damn VEGGIES!!
- Dr. Green mentions calcium deficiency. Many people, not just those with celiac disease or that are on a gluten free diet, have calcium deficiency. He also doesn’t mention that many of those diagnosed with celiac disease are also intolerant to dairy, and thus must find alternative sources of calcium in their diets. Or that the damage done to the villi often causes impaired nutrient absorption and therefore, deficiency. I covered this in Common Nutrient Absorption Issues in Celiac Disease and What to Do About It.
Overall, I was incredibly disappointed. There has been so many great news pieces done on celiac disease and gluten intolerance lately that this was like a kick in the teeth. This was a wonderful opportunity for education and discussion on the beauty of naturally gluten free food, on the importance of eating “real food,” how you CAN get nutrition in your diet, how celiac disease is underdiagnosed, and it wasn’t that at all.
I understand it was only a short segment, and that editing is done to the Nth degree, and that what ended up in the final cut may not have been Dr. Green’s intention at all. But the implication that a gluten free diet is inherently unhealthy really,really, ticks me off.
As always, it’s the choices you make in the QUALITY of your food that matter, not just the gluten or gluten free status.
OK, I’m going to jump down off my soapbox and give you guys the floor. What did you think?
And, if you’re new here and didn’t get turned off by my little rant, go ahead and check out Gluten Free and Fit 101 for tips on how to get going on a HEALTHY gluten free diet.
See, you can tell I’m upset. That’s a lot of caps 😉