When you google the term “gluten free diet,” one of the top 10 links that pops up is from the Harvard Health Blog. I’m going to use the next few moments to discuss why I think this article is inaccurate, unsubstantiated, and simply garbage.
Yes, that’s right… I’m calling out the Harvard Health Blog. Just a simple gluten free food blogger, but I’m frustrated with the misinformation presented in the article. I’m also irritated that it is the 6th ranked link in a google search for the words “gluten free,” and someone looking for facts would take this article and believe it from Harvard.
- Being gluten free is “extremely challenging”
- Eliminating bread deprives you of fortified nutrients
- Whole wheat is a major source of fiber
- “Keep your dietary choice to yourself”
- Being gluten free is a “gigantic burden”
um…what!? Hey Holly, thank you for the hard-hitting and well-referenced reasons why we should think again about going with a gluten free diet if we are not celiac.
I’m not kidding folks, I literally laughed out loud when I read this. Before I begin to dispute these ridiculous claims, I will say that the article has no medical journal references and instead has Dr. Daniel A. Leffler, director of clinical research at the Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center interjecting commentary throughout the article. Naively, it’s been shared on Facebook 3,000 times.
So here we go…
1. Being gluten free is “extremely challenging”
Holly says that because gluten “lurks” within many products we use everyday, “this makes following a gluten-free diet extremely challenging.”
I disagree. Using the term “extremely challenging” to describe following a gluten free diet is an “extreme” exaggeration.
I’ve been gluten free since August 2018. Yes, I need to read food labels… There really isn’t anything hard about that. Yes, I need to research where gluten may be “lurking,” but Holly, your disappointing article is cluttering google with nonsense… and for what purpose? What’s “extremely challenging” is navigating misinformation or poorly written articles like the one from Holly when I’m trying to gather information.
2. Eliminating bread deprives you of fortified nutrients
I disagree. Again, what a surprise.
According to the Smithsonian, 50 Percent of America Eats a Sandwich every day. We are talking about two pieces of bread…
I cannot believe that if those Americans ate their one sandwich per day on gluten free bread, their health would be deprived. What would we do if we didn’t get those extra fortified nutrients?! I’m sure we would not suffer if we ate two less pieces of “fortified” bread everyday. Come on…really?
Don’t go gluten free because our “fortified” bread is keeping us alive. I actually like gluten free bread. Canyon Bakehouse makes some really great stuff. Three Bakers also makes a great loaf of bread along with other quality products. You should check them out and give them a try.
3. Whole wheat is a major source of fiber
Ok, yes there is fiber in bread. There is plenty of places to get my dietary fiber intake that does not involve bread. Eliminating those two pieces of bread a day are not going to negatively impact my bowel movements.
Before I go too far into detail with my bowel movements, I’ll just say you can find fiber in many different foods. This is not a reason to avoid being gluten free.
The only bowel movement here is…. wait for it…wait for it… Holly’s article. 😮 No he did not just say that!!! I did, sorry not sorry. Haha
4. “Keep your dietary choice to yourself”
The last paragraph of the article tells us to “keep your dietary choice to yourself.” I believe Holly is saying that if I’m not celiac, I should not tell anyone I’m gluten free.
I don’t go around telling everyone, but if it comes up in conversation I see no issue with that. Oh… and I guess that applies to my wife too? She’s not celiac, but is autoimmune and the inflammatory aspect of gluten negatively impacts her health. Holly, I’ll tell her to not tell anyone either… I’ll let you know how that works out for me! haha
5. Being gluten free is a “gigantic burden”
Saving the best for last!!
Avoiding gluten is a “gigantic burden” according to Dr. Leffler. Thanks Doc. No references to any sources in the entire article. No references to any medical journals. Nothing. Eat gluten because it’s a gigantic burden to avoid it.
What a crock…
In closing… let’s wrap this up…in a corn tortilla of course!
I think the main problem is the date of the article. It was posted February 20, 2013 and updated on January 08, 2018. Maybe in 2013 it was harder to be gluten free, but if you are going to update the article, maybe take a new look at it in 2019… being gluten free is not hard. Simply put.
Here is the link to the article so appropriately named “Going gluten-free just because? Here’s what you need to know” No sarcasm there.
I’m really disappointed to see an article like this popping up on page one for a “gluten free” search. When I saw it, I immediately thought… Harvard, it must be reputable and well cited. I could not have been more wrong.
Harvard is probably the best school on the planet, so you could see why this article is disappointing. Maybe the blog isn’t affiliated with the school? Someone, please let me know! However, it is a .edu URL. I’ve been wrong before.
So I’ll wrap up my counter-argument in one sentence because I don’t need to cite any references. Avoiding gluten is actually pretty simple and it is not a “gigantic burden.” Spoken from experience…