In places like NYC and LA that go nuts for the latest diet crazes, being gluten-free is a growing trend — and Jimmy Kimmel has stepped in to poke some fun at all the people jumping on the bandwagon.
The market for gluten-free products grew 44% between 2011 and 2013, and is projected to continue to rise, reaching sales of $US15.6 billion by 2016.
There are plenty of people with celiac disease, who are medically required to avoid gluten, and others who have a wheat allergy that necessitates avoiding many of the same products. But the gluten-free market is growing because of everyone else: the people who think gluten irritates their stomach, makes people fat, or is just “bad” — for some unspecified reason.
And one recent study found that many of the people calling themselves “gluten-sensitive” don’t actually fit the diagnostic criteria for that. As Kimmel says: “A lot of people can’t eat gluten for medical reasons, and that I get… But a lot of people here don’t eat gluten because someone in their yoga class told them not to.”
Not only that, if it’s not medically necessary a gluten-free diet can actually be bad for you — leaving you severely deficient in several nutrients and fibre, according to Julie M. Jones, a professor of dietetics at St. Catherine’s University. It’s also terribly expensive.
Do the “just because” gluten-avoiders even know what gluten is? When Kimmel asked a bunch of gluten-free people in LA, he found the answer is often no.
Our favourite response? “I haven’t really researched it to the fullest,” one woman says. “I have a girlfriend from Russia [who] just got me into it. So. [Pause.] She’s reading a book about it.”
For the record: Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat, barley, and other grains. It gives bread its chewiness and is often used as a meat substitute: If you’ve ever had “wheat meat,” seitan, or mock duck at a Thai restaurant, that’s gluten.
Watch the hilarious video below.
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