Gluten Free in the Media: The Celebrity Effect

Gluten Free Celebs

It seems like every time you turn around another celebrity has gone gluten free.  When I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease, the only other person I had ever heard mention gluten was Elisabeth Hasselback.  Elisabeth is a long-time suffer of Celiac Disease, and has been a pretty vocal presence in the community.  She now has her own book and line of gluten free protein bars.  But somewhere between Elisabeth Hasselback and now, the slew of celebrities touting their gluten free diets has certainly grown!  Check out a list of gluten free celebrities here

Elisabeth, and a few other celebrities, have indeed come out and said that their gluten free diet is due to health concerns.  More, and more, however, it seems that gluten free diets seem to be popping up in gossip magazines as a star’s latest “cleanse” or “weight loss secret” (I’m looking at you, Kim Kardashian).

As someone that absolutely MUST eat a gluten free diet, I don’t know how to feel about his.  On the one hand, it is probably hugely due to celebrity endorsement that gluten free has caught on in the main stream.  The huge spike in awareness about gluten free living (due also to the huge spike in proper diagnosis of Celiac Disease and gluten intolerances) has led to not only increased awareness, but to more and more quality food products, recipes, and restaurant options. 

On the other hand,  something about the celebrity endorsement seems to cheapen the plight of those of us that have to eat gluten free for our health.  Suddenly, gluten free is a “diet” you can go on to lose weight.  Of course, the weight gain/loss aspect of going gluten free is complicated and multi-faceted.  But something about a celebrity on the cover of a magazine saying “I went gluten free and lost 20 pounds!” just doesn’t seem right.

At some point, those same celebrities showing off their weight loss will have moved onto the next big thing, and the rest of us will be left here, eating our gluten free rice crackers, and wondering, what about me?

 What do you think?  Does the celebrity factor help or hurt the gluten free cause?

3 responses to “Gluten Free in the Media: The Celebrity Effect

  1. I feel the exact same way. I even get annoyed when friends tell me that they probably eat 95% gluten free anyway, so it wouldn’t be that hard to switch… GRRRRR…. Although the celebrity effect allows us to have restaurants that offer more choices, because these celebrities don’t need to worry about gluten (unless they really are celiac), restaurants can be slack about cross contamination and other issues, perhaps giving us food that is 95% gluten free- Yes, I’m talking Dominos!! And most recently Chili’s that I went to. They have gluten free menu, but it clearly says- we will not change our practices to ensure there is no cross contamination, we cannot guarantee that your food, or our ingredients are in fact gluten free.. Then why offer a gluten free menu???

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