The world of marketing is a weird and wacky place at times.
Manufacturers and distributors live in a highly competitive world and look for any little aspect or product trait that will give them an advantage and boost sales. At times the rush to associate their product or service to the latest fashion or fad becomes a little silly.
Strolling through the shampoo selections I was surprised to read on the front of the Kirkland brand shampoo that it was gluten free. When was the last time you heard of anyone going on a shampoo drinking binge? It is also labeled vegan but that at least has the logic of appealing to a very small group of purists who like the assurance that no animal products are used to make that particular shampoo.
A reaction to gluten, found in the endosperm of wheat and its relatives, can be serious. In its full-blown state, it is known as Celiac disease, which attacks the small intestine and can have serious consequences. There are likely others who have a very mild reaction usually called gluten intolerance.
While there is no question that Celiac disease and gluten intolerance does exist, it is much rarer than would be indicated. It needs to be diagnosed by a professional medical investigation. Joining a food fad group can end up depriving your body of important nutrients and that can be harmful to an individual over the long term. Self-diagnosis is dangerous in most circumstances.
The avoidance of gluten is primarily a food fad.
The over consumption of things such as sugar and salt can have much more drastic results. As a society we generally over consume both of those foods. If you are truly concerned about what you eat reduce both.
Another neat marketing trick is labeling gelatin as fat free. Gelatin is naturally fat free but labeling it so attracts the attention of some shoppers. It likely has lots of sugar, which can end up being stored as fat.
Organic foods are favoured by some shoppers as a means of having healthier meals. They are willing to pay a premium for products they are led to believe have been grown or raised free of pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotic use or other things which are not naturally part of the soil or animal feed. The question we must ask, as consumers, is what assurance do we have that those foods are actually purely organic.
There are organizations that will certify foods as organic. Some are very good and have high standards and rigid enforcement. There are other certifying agencies that are much more lax. Who do you trust without having to do hours of homework?
At the farmers market you will find many producers who grow their crops and raise their livestock in an organic environment. Most of them can be trusted and that is where to shop for in-season products.
If you truly wish to feed yourself and your family then learn the basics of good nutrition. Health Canada is a good place to start, just sarch them and start from there. You will find that many of the rules we believed will help in healthy eating. Some of Grandma’s rules still hold true but some of your beliefs are myths. As you develop your knowledge, you will read and understand those labels on cans and packages. You will be occasionally surprised by what is in the products you have been consuming for years.
One doesn’t have to become an expert. Just having a basic knowledge of foods and their effect can lead you to a happier diet and you can skip the fads and marketing hype. Check with the professionals.