Gluten and lactose

Or “wheat” and “dairy” if you prefer.

It’s all the rage to hate on these guys these days. What’s the truth? I am open to the following arguments (I’ll just use gluten, but they all apply to lactose too):
- gluten is a natural food, it’s in wheat, it’s totally healthy no problem
- gluten is hard on your digestive system, even if you’re not allergic, so we should avoid it if possible (and it sure is possible)
- we’ve been eating bread for past couple thousand years so it’s okay for us
- gluten was not actually eaten for thousands of years; most societies eat rice or corn or teff or whatever.
- we can eat them no problem, but not in the amounts we eat now (like meat), because ______

I am not open to the following arguments:
- some people are allergic to it so it’s probably bad for all of us
- we’ve been eating it for the past couple hundred years so it’s okay for us
- it’s not so bad, anyway (i don’t want to survive on things that are just “not so bad”)
- come on, it’s bread! shut up you dumb hippie!
- we weren’t “meant” to eat dairy because it’s food for a baby cow
- man, gluten is like, totally wack. you know? it messes with your internal rhythms, and it’s just, it’s just not good for you, you know?

If you know something, pipe up! I am interested. If I had enough reason to cut them out of my eats, I would, but I’d need to know they’re more than just the fad of the month (see: fats, carbs).


Anonymous -


Any dietary question is hard to answer. In general, the public tends to be years behind the research, BUT the newest studies need to be replicated to make sure they are generalizable.

This makes it very easy for fad diets, misleading info, and downright deceptive dietary recommendations to proliferate.

Even nutritionists can be out of date or give bad recommendations.

A quick survey of PubMed yielded no results for papers dealing with gluten-free diets for people WITHOUT intolerances.

However, I did find a study that calculated that the average gluten-free food costs over 200% more than its normal equivalent.

Certainly, there is plenty of evidence that a gluten-free diet is beneficial for celiac disease or anyone with a gluten intolerance. If you suspect that you have a gluten intolerance, you should get that checked by an allergenist.

Otherwise buying gluten-free food seems to be just another expensive fad.

Dan -

“any dietary question is hard to answer”… No kidding.

That’s kinda how I feel about gluten. Seems like a fad. However, it’s a fad among bloggers (and others) whose nutritional advice I otherwise agree with.

I wonder about that study, gluten free food prices. It’s probably 200% more expensive if you want equivalent food, like regular pasta vs brown rice pasta. But if I were going to eat gluten-free, I’d just stop eating pasta. It’s pike meat: I don’t just replace all my meat with tofu or soy fake meats. I just eat less meat.

Maybe the study addresses this. I didn’t read it yet. I will do that now, so as not to post uninformed comments on my own blog.

Dan -

Nope, I was right. Hey, gluten free folks, you can still eat cheaply… Just don’t buy packaged “gluten free” food; buy more natural non packaged foods that don’t have gluten.

Sorry, this sounds smug. I don’t mean to be smug.

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