Gluten-free does not mean “Healthy”. Stop me if you heard this one.

Please repeat after me:

“Gluten-free does not mean healthy.”

“Gluten-free does not mean healthy.”


“After all, cyanide and bleach are gluten-free… but you’d never see me swapping my current beverage intake for either.” – Lucinda Robinson



With that out of the way…

Stardate: 27th June 2014

Hi all!

Today’s rant isn’t a crack at gluten-intolerance. I need to put that out there first, so we aren’t misunderstood. My niece, who is four years old, suffers from a pretty severe gluten allergy. Me, personally, I cannot digest the stuff… It wrecks me. So, I’d never make light of the issue.

That said, I do have a massive pet peeve… and it revolves around the unscrupulous marketers of products.

In a nutshell:

Beware of fitness marketing jargon. It is often MISUSED to sell products. Not to protect consumers. Not to help educate consumers. NO… the bottom line is sales. That’s understandable, it is business after all. And, it would be ok if the average consumer read more than just the catch-phrases. But, this is not the case… ergo this rant.

Over the past few weeks, some clients of mine clued me in to a scam going on in their office. There’s a guy who comes by, selling cupcakes that he makes himself. Respectable, right? He sells out EVERY SINGLE DAY. Mind you, most of the girls in the office are on (and failing at) one type of weight-loss plan or the other.

So, how does he make his sales?

He says: These are gluten-free!

Here’s an actual conversation sent to me by one of my clients:

Chick: “The cupcake guy is here. He has a huge selection of stuff. What kind do you want?”

Client: “It isn’t my cheat day yet. Wait… How are you ordering cupcakes every day? Aren’t you on a diet?”

Chick: “Yea. It’s ok. They’re gluten-free. They’re healthy. So you and I can eat them.”

Client: “…”

/baffled look

You’d be surprised how many times per day I come across discussions like these. Some of you, much like the chick in the above dialogue, may not have even spotted what’s wrong with this discourse.

Briefly: A gluten-free cupcake, is still a cupcake. It’s still high in sugar, fat, starch, and all of the delicious little bits that make it cupcake-y.

The drawn out version: For gluten-free products to match the consistency of grain-inclusive products, manufacturers normally start with multiple, fiber-free, powdered starches. It may be rice starch. It may be potato starch… or what have you. To this, they slip in a ton of additives to bind these flours in the absence of gluten. Now, I’m not saying that the additives are a problem. However, when you take a snack treat that is already high glycemic (ie fattening), and build it around pure starch, you’re bumping the fattening power exponentially.

Add in the fact that the consumer now believes that what they’re consuming is healthy-promoting, and thus ok to consume in greater amounts, we’ve got a super cluster fuck.

…excuse my french.

And, this has been the case with other sexy health words.

Remember ‘fat-free’? Where fat was removed from foods, and replaced with sugar and high-fructose corn syrup?

Do you remember seeing ‘cholesterol free’ on your fruit roll-ups? (As if the absence of cholesterol negated the fact that your ‘snack’ contained nothing but sugar, syrups, and dyes?)


Fucking unscrupulous.


Yours in fitness,
-Corey “Narkissos” Springer


  1. *covers eyes*

    *recalls a conversation I had with my personal trainer this week….”I bought rice flour last week, not sure why but”….hmmmm*

    Good rant though!

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