Well, well, well, look at the New York Times embracing libertarianism and food choice when it comes to fads their demographic happens to embrace. Like with sugar and GMOs, they want science and reason to stay out of it, because those are weird fetishes of a large chunk of their readership, while we are constantly told how stupid people are if they don't accept global warming. Right?
No, not this time. In their debate section, most of the guest writers agree with me - that it is a marketing trend rather than a health one, that it's not a diet (they mean you, Lady Gaga), and that if you do not actually have a gluten issue, it is doing more harm than good.
But you are preaching to the choir, Gray Lady. While I believe people should be able to spend their money as stupidly as they want, I also hope lots of people continue to lay out the truth for people who actually want to know if they are being exploited by marketing.
Gluten-free foods cost 242% more than regular so companies and pundits claiming a person who has no gluten issue will be 'healthier' by buying a gluten-free label is exploiting them for mercenary gain. Like homeopathy or sugar pills or anything else psychological, selling something because it 'makes people feel better' under the pretense of making them healthier is suspect. I will continue call it out as a desperate effort to keep what is suddenly a $5 billion a year business going strong.
Regardless of what a food blogger apparently has chosen to believe, 20% of America does not have Celiac disease, they are not even gluten sensitive. Outside the actual Celiac community, the 20% of people who have turned gluten-free products into a giant industry are instead buying it because it gets into the New York Times and they think gluten must be bad because it is on a label. Though claims of gluten 'intolerance' have skyrocketed in the last decade, 75% of people suddenly claiming to be intolerant show no symptoms of gluten intolerance after eating it. It is the classic "nocebo" effect.
Health should not be just for the rich readers of the New York Times so convincing poor people they are eating less healthy if they don't buy an expensive nocebo is ethically wrong - and that is what marketing departments, and cookbook editors in mainstream media, are doing by endorsing gluten-free foods for people who get no benefit from them. We are manufacturing a cultural crisis if we let poor people be convinced by greedy corporations that they are in some food ghetto if they eat conventional food rather than the gluten-free kind. Because of the labeling fad, the FDA has said it will crack down on anyone who tries to sell milk, fruit, honey, water and whatever else as 'gluten-free', though they have been legally able to do so.
If food pundits actually listened to Celiac patients they would not be so glib in circling the wagons around the gluten-free fad. Celiac patients know what is not on splashy labels - that extra sugar, extra fat, hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose and xanthan gum are not better for your health unless gluten is actually dangerous for you.
Some people like to invoke 'if it helps even one person' rationalization for their beliefs, while others would prefer that people not be duped into paying over 200 percent more for food that is actually unhealthier. That second group reads Science 2.0.
Let's celebrate diversity and tolerance and not demonize the people who are laying out the truth about what a gluten-free diet can and cannot do, and who it will help. Anything else is just being a shill for the latest food trend.
And, really, shouldn't such people have moved on to the Blood Type diet by now?