Bicycling Mag's take on gluten free diets

I posted the following topic on Slowtwitch this afternoon, but I thought it could also serve as an entry for this blog! Let me know your thoughts!

I follow a gluten free diet. There are at least a handful of pros that do, too (rappstar, Brandon and Amy Marsh, etc). Which means there is probably a good chance that several of my fellow STers do, too.

I got my Bicycling Magazine yesterday and was a bit annoyed by the article "The Word on Wheat":,00.html

Other than the lack of transition in this article, I found the article misleading (and somewhat annoying). It kind of gave me the impression that, unless you are diagnosed with Celiac disease or a wheat allergy (or a chiropractor tells you to to try a gluten free diet), then you should just keep plugging away at that plate of linguini. The bottom of the article in print (not on the website) displayed a list of gluten free foods that are available, and the reviews of these made it sound like gluten-free food was ... "meh".

What really got my panties in a bunch was this:
"...according to Julie Miller Jones, PhD, a nutritionist and advisory board member of the Grain Foods Foundation, gluten-free diets often lack a host of nutrients typically found in whole-grain wheat products such as vitamins B and D, calcium, iron, zinc, folate and magnesium. And because cyclists rely on the carbohydrates found in many wheat-based foods to pound out miles, it's important to know if you're a good candidate to go gluten free, or if you should just keep digging into that linguini."

First- Dr Miller Jones is an advisor for the Grain Foods Foundation ( Conflict of interest, anyone? And brown rice actually has more magnesium, Vit B5, and Vit B6 per calorie than whole wheat bread. ( and yes, I did the math). Plus, are you more apt to eating five slices of bread, or half cup of rice? Because calorically, that is approximately the equivalent (remember, calories are good for endurance athletes).
Second- You can still have linguini if your gluten free. I actually find that I like the taste of rice noodles better than regular ones (especially whole wheat ones, bllllah). And who ever said rice was worse for you than bleached white flour?
Third- Being gluten free by choice, not by medical prescription, for a lot of people comes down to wanting to make the right decisions about the diet one is following, and paying close attention to what goes into the body. Thus, people who do it because of their potential nonceliac gluten intolerance (or just because they want to do it) are probably following the diet closely and paying attention to the foods they are putting into their body moreso than folks who follow a regular-ol' run-of-the-mill diet. I, for one, have found that I eat a lot more whole foods now that I am gluten free, and I cook more frequently for myself (because going out to eat in Houghton is nearly impossible for someone on my diet). I pay much closer attention to the ingredient labels than before I was gluten free. For example, I have practically cut out cereal from my diet (barley malt extract is in just about everything), I no longer have a stash of Triscuits in my desk drawer, and I don't eat pork products anymore (except nitrite free bacon) because eating pork makes me sick. Maybe the injectable crap they put in pork roasts contains wheat? I wouldn't doubt it.

Anyway, I just wanted to get your thoughts on the matter. Am I just being silly and getting worked up by misreading the article, or does the article mislead the reader to thinking that gluten free diets
for people not diagnosed with Celiac or non-Celiac gluten intolerance are a gimmick?


krull_etc said...

It's a typical Bicycling article that doesn't give a thorough argument for anything. They do end with Desiree Ficker's statement about it forcing you to stay away from processed foods. That's the biggest/quickest change in my diet when I started avoiding flour.

libgyrl said...

Doesn't seem like you are over worked up and I appreciate your take on these topics. I've only the, ah, stomach to skim the article. After 7 years as a vegan, 3 as a lacto-ovo vegetarian, (now I eat a little bit of everything again) I stopped giving too much credence to short nutrition articles. They are always skewed and somewhat misleading. Now I just hope that people (especially athletes) are smart enough to read a lot of opinions, look at the credentials of authorities, and listen to their bodies. Then again, I'm notorious for giving the masses too much credit.

Thanks for getting riled and writing!

libgyrl said...

PS: I'm in agreement with krull_etc and Ficker and experienced this with veganism: getting away from processed foods will do a body a world of good!

David M Cain said...

Great information on gluten... thanks for sharing. You might be interested in this as well: