School Papers

Another were strictly eating a gluten-free diet and

Another reason people may feel the inclination to follow
a gluten-free diet is the placebo effect.  The placebo effect is defined
as a substance or treatment with no active therapeutic effects.  An individual
may believe that they are seeing results and deceived into thinking that it is
an active treatment.r1   This idea can be applied to a
gluten-free diet as an individual may believe in their head that removing gluten
from their diet is healthier and convince themselves that they are experiencing
positive effects from it when it’s in fact just a result of the placebo effect.

 In a double-blind study, conducted in 2015, thirteen competitive cyclists
were recruited.  For one week, they were strictly eating a gluten-free
diet and told to continue exercising normally.  The cyclists, the
following week, a diet with gluten in it and continued to train as they had
been.  The cyclist’s training information, such as time, heart rate, and
other fitness indicators, were recorded.  At the end of the study, it was
concluded that the times and other training information recorded during the
study did not vary during the week with gluten and the week without (Reynolds,
2016).  While
this study was short and has not been replicated at this time it gives a good
look at what could lead to further studies.  r2 In this study, there was no difference
from when the athletes were eating gluten and when they had removed gluten, and
since the athletes were unaware of which week they were eating gluten and which
week they were not, the placebo effect was not a factor in this study.  These athletes
and celebrities praise the gluten-free diet and the positive effects they see,
but we can’t be sure whether their results are in fact real.  r3 This leads to the logical conclusion,
that while athletic performance might increase under a gluten-free diet, it is
most likely due to the placebo effect and not the actual act of cutting gluten
out of your diet.

            One of
the several issues related to the gluten-free diet is the increased cost of
food.  Since gluten-free food cannot be cross contaminated, it must go
through a more extensive manufacturing process.  This requires that all
gluten-free food be manufactured in specifically gluten-free production plants.

 Since the equipment cannot be used for anything other than gluten-free
products, this drastically adds to the cost of producing gluten-free foods.

 Reports show that “creating gluten-free food can be 242% more costly than
creating regular food” (Tucker, 2016).  There are also a significant
number of regulations that gluten-free producers must abide by.  These
regulations include “Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), National
Foundation for Celiac Awareness Gluten-Free Certification Program (NFCA), The
International Certification Services (ICS), Celiac Sprue Association Seal of
Recognition (CSA), and the Gluten-Free Standards Organization (GFSA)” (Tucker,
2016).  Appeasing all these different organizations is a difficult task as
each brings their own regulations and standards.  Given that each product
must obtain the approval from at least two of these regulations, and that since
they are unique to gluten-free, they are harder and costlier.  This adds
to the difficulty in gaining the gluten-free label and again results in higher
costs.  While these higher costs might be okay for celebrities such as Tom
Brady, Miley Cyrus, and Kourtney Kardashian, for the average everyday American
these costs can be tough to afford.  For example, a Canadian study
conducted in 2011 found that gluten-free products cost on average 242% more
than products with gluten.  A similar study conducted by British
researchers in 2011 found that “gluten-free products were 76% to 518% more
expensive than their wheat-based counterparts” (Reuters, 2014).  In
conjunction that most manufacturers are not eager to sell gluten-free foods due
to the lack of demand, it becomes abundantly clear as to why gluten-free foods
are costlier.  This poses a serious issue for working-class Americans, as
the benefits are either minor or nonexistent, and the costs are astronomically
higher.