(NaturalNews) The growing popularity of going gluten-free, spurred in large part by a steady uptick in cases of celiac disease and related gluten intolerances, has set the mainstream media on the defense with a stream of articles now condemning the diet as just another fad. A recent piece by ABC News, for instance, claims that gluten is just another form of dietary calories and that avoiding it can actually be harmful to health for people with a diagnosed health condition.
Reports associating gluten-free diets with a phenomenon known as "social contagion," or the rapid spread and adoption of an idea across social strata simply based on viral popularity, also aim to denigrate the avoidance of gluten as some kind of psychosomatic disorder. Some in the establishment have even gone so far as to declare the idea of gluten intolerance as complete horse hockey, using much more colorful language, of course.
This tirade is unlikely to stop anytime soon, which begs the question: Why do the media and many in the medical establishment care so much about other people choosing not to eat gluten? In the ABC News report, the suggestion is that many popular ideas about gluten are false, mainly those which claim that it is unhealthy and leads to the packing on of belly fat, among other health detriments.
Modern wheat is not like the old stuff
Some of these points may be true, but others, including the idea that gluten is "just gluten" and is perfectly safe for most people, are blatantly disingenuous. Anyone who has been reading Natural News for a while may already know that many gluten-containing foods today come from wheat varieties that have been substantially altered from the traditional or heritage wheat varieties of old.
"It's an 18-inch tall plant created by genetic research in the '60s and '70s," said Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist and author of the popular book Wheat Belly. In Dr. Davis' view, modern wheat is a "perfect, chronic poison," in part because it contains a new protein known as gliadin that does not exist in heritage wheat. Though not technically gluten, gliadin is a health threat to people without gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.
In other words, the wheat issue is complex, and perhaps targeting only gluten is missing the forest for the trees. But the fact of the matter is that an increasing number of people are having problems with modern wheat and its derivatives, and it is no laughing matter. People today are fatter, more sedentary and have more chronic health problems than people of old -- and the transformation of wheat into higher-yielding hybrid varieties seems to have played a role in this.
Wheat industry playing dirty to fight growing distrust of gluten
It is important to note that many of the news outlets now bashing the gluten-free diet receive advertising dollars from large food conglomerates that rely on consumers buying gluten-containing products. So it is no surprise, then, that they are now targeting people who skip gluten, but who don't necessarily have diagnosed celiac disease, as being the equivalent of misinformed fools.
At the same time, some of these same news outlets are lashing out against the so-called "kale craze," or the increased consumption of kale for health purposes. One news site disparagingly refers to the growing popularity of kale as a fad cult with no leader, accusing the phantom "kale industry" of trying to drive up sales by claiming the greens to be a superfood.
But Dr. Davis and others aren't falling for the lies. In his view, sticking with foods that are "least likely to have been changed by agribusiness" is the best bet, and this includes avoiding not only wheat but a host of other processed grains that science is now showing cause inflammation, gut issues and ultimately chronic disease and death.