90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The ‘Gluten-Free’ Boom

Gluten-free is hot — diets, cookbooks and even bread. We’ll look at the logic and dollar signs behind the boom.

In this Thursday, July 14, 2012 photo, Bertha Domimguez prepares gluten-free dough at Pure Knead bakery sandwich bread in Decatur, Ga. Scientists suggest that there may be more Celiac disease today because people eat more processed wheat products than in decades past, which use types of wheat that have a higher gluten content.  (AP)

In this Thursday, July 14, 2012 photo, Bertha Domimguez prepares gluten-free dough at Pure Knead bakery sandwich bread in Decatur, Ga. Scientists suggest that there may be more Celiac disease today because people eat more processed wheat products than in decades past, which use types of wheat that have a higher gluten content. (AP)

“Gluten-free” is everywhere now.  On banners and signs and food labels all over.  As if we are all gluten intolerant, or could all be saved by a gluten-free diet.  The claims are huge.  Save your weight, your heart, your mind, your life.  They put a lot off-limits.  Wheat and rye and barley and couscous.  Most beer and hot dogs, bouillon, soy sauce, baked beans, ice cream, ketchup, vodka.  Is it worth it?  For some, definitely.  For most – that’s another question.  This hour On Point:  we’re talking about the “gluten-free” boom – the science, the hope, the hype, and what it’s all about.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

James Hamblin, senior editor at The Atlantic. (@jameshamblin)

Dr. Peter Green, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. Author of “Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic.”

Dr. David Perlmutter, neurologist and author of “Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs and Sugar — Your Brain’s Silent Killers.” (@davidperlmutter)

Mieke Johnson, co-owner and baker at Tula Gluten Free Bakery Cafe. (@WheatFreeTweet)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Atlantic: This Is Your Brain On Gluten — “I hope people don’t give up on nutrition science, because there is a sense that no one agrees on anything. An outlier comes shouting along every year with a new diet bent on changing our entire perspective, and it’s all the talk. That can leave us with a sense that no one is to be believed. The scientific community on the whole is not as capricious as the bestseller list might make it seem.”

New York Times: A Big Bet on Gluten-Free — “Makers of products that have always been gluten-free, including popcorn, potato chips, nuts and rice crackers, are busy hawking that quality in ads and on their packaging. And consumers are responding with gusto. The portion of households reporting purchases of gluten-free food products to Nielsen hit 11 percent last year, rising from 5 percent in 2010.”

Scientific American: Most People Shouldn’t Eat Gluten-Free — “Many Americans are considering cutting back on the amount of gluten in their diets or avoiding it altogether. However, nutritionists say that if this is not done carefully, the diet can be unhealthy. In a recent poll, 30 percent of adults said they wanted to ‘cut down or be free of gluten,’ according to The NDP Group, the market-research company that conducted the poll. That’s the highest percentage of people to report having this goal since the poll began asking the question in 2009, NDP says.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Mar 2, 2015
In this Tuesday, March 4, 2014 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accompanied by his wife Sara, right, speaks before the screening of the television documentary "Israel: The Royal Tour" at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles. (AP)

On the eve of Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu’s controversial address to Congress, we look at the US-Israel falling out over Iran nuclear negotiations.

Mar 2, 2015
This image provided by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center shows an artists rendering on how a gamma ray burst occurs with a massive star collapsing and creating a black hole and beaming out focused and deadly light and radiation bursts. Astronomers and space telescopes in April 2013 saw the biggest and brightest cosmic explosion ever witnessed, a large gamma ray burst. (AP)

A super-massive black hole, newly discovered, deep in space. We’ll peer into the realm of the black hole.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 27, 2015
This image released courtesy of the Lead Belly Estate shows folk and blues musician Huddie William Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly. Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter never had a hit record before he died of Lou Gehrig's disease in 1949. (AP)

Going back to Lead Belly. The blues legend is back. His influences, as big as ever.

 
Feb 27, 2015
Federal Communication Commission (FCC) ChairmanTom Wheeler, center, joins hands with FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, left, and Jessica Rosenworcel, before the start of their open hearing in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015.  (AP)

A US-Israel rift. A win for net neutrality. “American Sniper” verdict. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Want To Listen To Lead Belly? Here’s Where To Start
Monday, Mar 2, 2015

Loved our show on Lead Belly, but unsure on where you should start to listen? Jeff Place of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage offers his best picks for a beginning Lead Belly listener.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: February 27, 2015
Friday, Feb 27, 2015

We won’t lead you into a debate on the color of #TheDress (it’s blue and black, end of debate), but we do wonder about the blurring lines between so-called Internet culture and general popular culture. Also, it’s snowing in Boston. Still.

More »
Comment
 
Two Congressmen Weigh In On DHS Funding
Tuesday, Feb 24, 2015

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland present their views on the ongoing Congressional budget fight over Department of Homeland Security funding. (Spoiler: They do not agree on a resolution of the crisis).

More »
1 Comment