Buy Me! I’m Gluten Free and Super Healthy!

One of my professors brought to class a nice big bag of Chicago Mix. The first thing I noticed about the package was the Gluten Free claim. I don’t doubt the claim but the logo made me press pause. Isn’t popcorn supposed to be gluten free?

Earlier today my mother and I spent about half an hour slowly wandering the aisles at Costco as we waited for yet another antibiotic prescription to be filled. A friendly Costco employee pressed for my mom and I to try a creation of black cookies and a creamy filling. But what we tried wasn’t just an Oreo. It was gluten free.

The red-aproned lady announced the details of these delicious timbits. They were gluten free. They were healthier. They were a good deal.

As we continued our wanderings through the store I couldn’t help but notice the emergence of gluten free products. Quinoa-based pasta, quinoa cookies, and various items such as pancake mix and other cookies were all labelled gluten free.

I understand the need for the elimination of wheat from diets for people with wheat intolerance. It is much better for their health. A roommate and a teammate have both described their positive experiences with the elimination of gluten from their diets. Going gluten free was much healthier for them.

But are gluten free diets much better for the general population? No one knows. I don’t believe there is enough sufficient research done to determine whether gluten free diets benefit the overall health of the population.

Despite the uncertainty of the magnitude of gluten free diets on the general population the North American culture seems to be embracing and hailing gluten free diets as the way to health.

Those gluten free Oreos-look-alikes are billed as healthier. But in truth they are still black cookies with creamy icing in the middle. They are still probably 60-70 calories per.

The term Gluten Free offers a buzz. It is the big thing. It makes popcorn covered in brown sugar and cheddar seem like a healthy snack. And it also probably increases the margins for the manufacturer.

Buy Me! I’m Gluten Free and Super Healthy!

Actually…since I have yet to exhibit any symptoms that indicate I’m intolerant of wheat products I’ll just buy that box of cheaper (and with sprinkles! please tell me the Birthday Oreos are still on shelves!) real Oreos by good ole Christies. I refuse to fall into the trap of smart marketing! Oh wait…Birthday Oreos are brought to me by smart marketing!

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2 Responses to Buy Me! I’m Gluten Free and Super Healthy!

  1. dmontgo says:

    Gluten-free substitution products like Oreo-lookalikes or quinoa cookies or GF trail mixes are great for those with gluten-sensitivities or Celiac…but they are still junk food! Just because they don’t have “gluten” in them doesn’t mean they don’t have a ton of sugar or sodium or fat. Like anything…moderation is key.

  2. Hi Joanna,
    I like your “gluten-free” post and can totally get behind you on the way marketers come up with new ways of enticing us, as well as capitalizing on the latest food trend. If you’re interested, I would encourage you to check out the book, Grain Brain by David Perlmutter, Phd. (http://www.amazon.com/Grain-Brain-Surprising-Sugar-Your-Killers/dp/031623480X)

    My family and I have started trying the gluten-free diet, although we haven’t shown any signs of allergy or sensitivity to gluten. I try not to jump at trends (there’s a lot of them!!) but this guy has the credentials and makes a good argument. If nothing else, it can’t hurt to eliminate gluten from my diet. Thanks for your article and I look forward to reading more of your blog.
    -chadtherunner

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