Okay, I said this week I would look at the downsides of the gluten free trend, and then the Associated Press (AP) article hit and I had people from Las Vegas, Nevada to Duluth, Minnesota calling and texting me, “Did you see the article in the paper?”
Yup. Turns out, over the weekend the AP produced a story talking about educators not providing adequate options for students with food allergies (including gluten/celiac) which violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. Basically this article told the world that the Feds consider food allergies (and celiac disease) a disability and educators need to take them more seriously. (agreed!)
So I decided to call an audible (to use a football reference on this football Sunday) and change up my writing plan this week. I know in an earlier post in this series, I already addressed that greater awareness is a benefit of the gluten-free diet trend. But media attention takes that to another level and is worth noting. Hence– this article.
Gluten Free and Celiac in the News
Back in the day, if something newsworthy crossed the wire about celiac or the gluten free diet you rarely would see it get any media play let alone nationally. But I think simply because of the attention the gluten free trend has received (as well as the hot topic of food allergies), it helped catapult this weekend’s AP article into headlines across the country.
Let me digress for just a moment. I can’t go any further in this article without offering kudos to gluten free, food allergy and celiac writers who had this story out there weeks before the Associated Press got a hold of it. So let’s give them a shout out!! You can read The Savvy Celiac’s article about it here.
But what the AP did with the subject was great too! The AP explored the topic even more to make it, let’s face it, a little more palatable for the greater news reader and for that I applaud them.
Back to why I think the gluten free trend has helped the gluten free lifestyle and celiac disease get more media coverage. Just look at the examples: Besides this weekend’s AP story, you may recall the Mayo Clinic study from 2009 also made headlines, as did Domino’s making gluten free pizza and Dunkin’ Donuts offering a gluten-free option.
Gluten Free fad diet stories have also made big news (how many times have you seen or read this story? The article or tv story leads with named celebrities who do the diet, ask ‘but is gluten free good for you’? and then they go on to explain what the diet is and talk to experts who say it isn’t recommended for anyone who doesn’t have celiac or a gluten sensitivity. End of story). If you looked at the content of the health stories in the last 10 years, you would most certainly see an uptick in gluten free and celiac related stories over the last 5.
We have all seen good and bad reporting on this subject, that is for sure. But I am of the mindset that the more times we can talk about celiac disease and the gluten free lifestyle to the general public the better. The more people know about it and the more mainstream it becomes, when news arises, the more likely it will be back in the media spotlight– then more people know about it and it becomes more mainstream…and the cycle continues. I believe this benefit has come from the gluten-free diet trend.
Tomorrow we begin to look at the downsides of the gluten free trend. — I promise….