May 16th, 2014
08:55 PM ET

Is gluten-free food a joke?

The big business of Gluten-free food.

A recent study shows that a lot of people who believe they are sensitive to gluten actually aren't.

Gluten: 5 things you need to know

In fact, many people on a gluten-free diet don't even know what diet they're on.

The gluten-free food industry is a $10 billion business and it's expected to grow 50% by 2016.

But is it all a big joke?

OutFront, Dr. Mark Hyman is the medical director and founder of The UltraWellness Center. He helped President Clinton find a healthy lifestyle after a 2004 quadruple bypass surgery.

View my Flipboard Magazine.

Filed under: Food • Health • News
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Jason

    You are all missing the point. Celiac is a very serious disease but only around 0.5% of people suffer from it. The "joke" here is that so many people who have NEVER been diagnosed by a doctor go around CLAIMING to be "gluten sensitive" with no real proof. "Gluten Free' is the new low carb - people think avoiding it will help them lose weight or "be healthier" when it likely won't make any difference for them because they don't even HAVE celiac. That's why gluten free has become a joke.

    June 2, 2014 at 7:25 pm | Reply
  2. Heather

    Erin Burnett you are an absolute idiot! Do you know how dumb you just made your self look? Obviously you have the luxury of getting to eat whatever the hell you want. As a person with celiac I spent three weeks straight in the hospital with a feeding tube because gluten made me that sick. At the time I too haven't heard of gluten but that doesn't mean it's a joke. There are tons of oeople out there oh have been battling digestive issues who may not have heard about gluten and it gets to the point like it did me before they found out from test what it is. Gluten is NOT a joke it really can mess people up. You don't understand the non stop throwing up or constant diarrhea from gluten contained foods. And before you try and report something get your dang facts straight not all potato chips and rice and stuff is gluten free. So good job on making you look dumb looks to be like your the joke

    May 20, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Reply
    • nightwriter

      Did any of you who are complaining actually watch the video? They acknowledge that gluten is a huge problem for SOME people. The point is that a lot of people who don't need to avoid gluten are because its the latest fad diet.

      August 5, 2014 at 7:07 pm | Reply
  3. Judy

    Well, Erin Burnett, if it's such a joke to be gluten intolerant just try it for a week. I would not eat like this if I didn't have to. You essentially made light of the health problems of millions of people. Sure, that airhead dieter is the face of the gluten intolerant. When the doctor told me I was gluten intolerant, I cried for two weeks. Every time I opened my pantry or my refrigerator, there were dozens of things I could no longer eat. Yes, I feel better and now I can move my shoulder that froze up when my body started attacking itself. And, there are finally things I can buy in stores. I don't have to mix my own baking mix from rice flour and tapioca starch. Your piece was insensitve and rude and I will not be watching your show again.

    May 19, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Reply
  4. stormcat42

    Honestly, I have to say that as someone who IS gluten sensitive, I was a little offended by this video... First, you use a comedians joke with one person who obviously had no clue as to what she was talking, to illustrate what you think all of us think... (No, you didn't SAY that this was how we all thought, but you insinuated it...) But you also stated that "all potato chips are gluten free"... No, they're not... Some white vinegars have gluten proteins in them, so if your chips have white vinegar in them, then there's a good chance it has gluten... And yes, for those of us who ARE gluten sensitive, we understand that cakes and cookies are still cakes and cookies... But they're still items that we miss in our diet... And lastly, when your so-called expert made the statement that if you're sensitive to gluten, you'll know because you'll "feel bad", what an understatement! I wish you would have spoken to folks like myself who ARE sensitive to gluten and heard the real story on feeling "bad"... Before I discovered my allergy, my life stopped... I couldn't go to work, I couldn't eat or sleep, I couldn't even leave the house! That's a great deal more than just feeling "bad"... I'm disappointed in this story, to be honest... It was pithy, small, and very belittling...

    May 18, 2014 at 3:43 pm | Reply
  5. Jeff

    I have one more comment about this poor piece of journalism. Erin experimented by shopping at Whole Foods, a place known for high prices and stocking foods that are free of gluten, GMO, you name it, so her experiment is bound to find a lot of foods in the store that are gluten-free. Try repeating that experiment at a general supermarket, especially one in a small town or a rural area. You'll be eating carrots and lettuce and a steak for dinner. While that might be delicious and satisfying for a day or two, it gets old real quick. And try going to a restaurant and eating gluten-free. Be careful of any sauces they might add to your naturally gluten-free meat and potatoes, and be sure to ask if they prepare it in a separate area so it doesn't get contaminated with other customers' food.

    Unfortunately, you won't really know how successful you are because you won't have the diarrhea symptoms and the "Feel like crap" syndrome to help you know when you've ingested gluten despite your best efforts to avoid it. Food avoidance rules and interrogation of restaurant staff are not foolproof procedures, especially when the restaurant staff aren't any more knowledgeable about gluten than Erin Burnett is.

    May 18, 2014 at 12:33 pm | Reply
  6. Jeff

    Holy cow, this is bad journalism. One doesn't need a business degree to understand that products produced in small batches or in a special facility (which food allergy items are both) will cost more. It's called overhead, and the fewer items a company makes to spread the overhead, the more overhead per item, and the higher the price. Supply and demand concepts are a little more complicated, better understood with a business degree, and the lack of availability of gluten-free foods drives up prices.

    As someone who has to avoid gluten, I can tell you that a) gluten-free foods are not a joke and b) the Feel LIke Crap syndrome the doctor refers to is also not a joke. These food products have greatly increased my quality of life, and allowed me to eat my own wedding cake, something I hadn't been able to eat for years. Was it unhealthy? Yes. Was it worth the extra cost? Absolutely. And going back to the manufacturing aspect, as more and more people eat gluten-free, and as more and more food businesses offer gluten-free options, the prices will come down.

    I will tell you that you can't put a price on the quality of life provided to me by gluten free foods. The doctor is right- salmon is gluten-free. Did they mention the price of salmon, especially if you want wild salmon that's not full of fish farm antibiotics? And has Erin Burnett tried to live on a diet of meat and vegetables for an extended period of time? Before I figured out my food sensitivity and figured out how to eat gluten-free, that's what I lived on. I was unhealthy thin, constantly fatigued because I lead an active lifestyle and need a lot of high energy foods to keep me going. I also wonder if Erin Burnett understands where gluten is in our food supply. It's not just bread. It's everywhere. Soy sauce and most condiments. Most soups. Anything breaded. Try reading food labels sometime and try to find foods with no wheat flour or barley. She mentioned potato chips as a naturally gluten-free food. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. That statement there proves her extreme ignorance on this topic and how she doesn't even understand what it really means to have to avoid gluten. Hey Erin, go read some potato chip ingredients labels. I'll give you a head start: Lays BBQ. Gluten is just about everywhere, often in very small amounts, and it's not as simple as walking into the grocery store and avoiding the bread isle.

    And for people like the poor girl they interviewed and embarrassed on national television, think about this- the more people who eat gluten-free, whether they need to or not, the cheaper the food will be for those of us who do need to eat it, and more available it will be when we travel away from our home and don't have all of the local gluten-free options figured out.

    This is some of the worst journalism I've ever heard or read. Erin is the one who comes across as extremely ignorant, not the girl in the interview.

    May 18, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Reply
  7. Michelle

    People!!!! If you do not have a legitimate diagnosis (from a real gastroenterologist) requiring gluten-free diet, stop following the FAD! Those of you who are going GF "just because" is reducing the perceived severity for those of us with Celiac Disease who have no choice but to go GF! My family can't eat at restaurants anymore because of the new GF fad! Restaurants claiming a GF menu do NOT understand what GF means! They follow the FAD and claim to have GF menus, when in fact the menu items are NOT GF! For example, processed, pre-packaged chicken broth has GLUTEN, soy sauce has GLUTEN, generic sour cream has GLUTEN, french fries or corn tortilla chips fried in a restaurant fryer have GLUTEN, etc! I'm just making the statement that due to the new "influx" of GF people, restaurants are catering to the Fad. Majority of the "gluten free" menu items are NOT GF. Hence, "true" GF folks cannot eat out. Not only the food is not GF, but the food preparation is absolutely not GF. Sorry for my rant, but this has been so frustrating from the Celiac community!I wish the fad would go away.

    May 17, 2014 at 9:02 pm | Reply
  8. Laura

    The video is only a piece of the segment/interview and cuts off Dr. Hyman in mid-sentance. Would be great if you could fix that. Or take down the video since it's pointless as posted.

    May 17, 2014 at 8:10 pm | Reply
  9. Jeffery Haddan

    In regard to the Gluten Free joke.

    My wife who has Celiac Disease would literally die if we did not have some help from large food giants that choose to produce a "Gluten Free" version of a normal product that most Americans would be use to. It's not a joke to us. We could right a book about gluten. . .

    May 17, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Reply
  10. 20 lbs thinner gal

    Erin, you were smug, flippant, and denigrating on the topic of gluten-free foods. My experience is that by replacing genetically modified wheat products with gluten free bread, pasta etc., I lost 20 lbs. As important, I lost that bloated feeling these fake wheat products cause, and I felt better. (No I did not have FLC before).

    As a new Mom, you might want to be cautious about feeding fake wheat to your child. Remember, what you call wheat today is NOT your grandfather's wheat....it's altered not organic.

    (I hope your producers aren't trying to turn your program into a tabloid event. Seeing a trend here!).

    I wish you well Erin. . .

    May 17, 2014 at 11:09 am | Reply
    • Arenare

      To the person who claims to have lost weight eating GL bread,

      Yeah, so gluten-free bread is not healthier for you than bread with gluten in it. In fact ALL gluten free bread has a higher calorie and sugar content, and lower fiber. This is not a generalization, this is the rule. Look it up. Also, trading a bread with genetically modified wheat for one with organic wheat is NOT the same as opting for gluten free bread, as gluten is inherent to the wheat. You comment was just plain dumb and honestly validates the above article, which is about the pure folly of adopting this diet without medical necessity.

      August 6, 2014 at 10:33 pm | Reply
      • Arenare

        Decided to post a source, because where's the fun in anecdotal evidence;

        August 6, 2014 at 10:45 pm | Reply
  11. laurie

    it sounded like you and your guest were making a mockery of celiac disease. those of us who really have to follow the diet are so greatful to all the food companies who have developed food for us. from manichevitz to general mills, to betty crocker and all of the other small and large companies our lives are enhanced and we can feel normal. we have so many options like those without celiac disease.can you imagine how hard it is to go into an italian restaurant and not be able to order pizza or pasta??we dont have to worry about that now!! it is a scary thought to us that some companies might not continue to do this becauase of the fad nature attached to this interview. as a nutrition professional i have worked with hundreds of patients who have symptoms similar to celiac disease,but have not met the diagnosis criteria. they find many of their symptoms are alleviated while following the diet . it is a scary thought to the gf community that the number of options may dwindle if this is thought of as a fad.

    May 17, 2014 at 7:14 am | Reply

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