FOOD & DRINK
05/14/2014 11:35 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Michael Pollan: Going Gluten-Free Is 'A Bit Of A Social Contagion'

Acclaimed food writer Michael Pollan is happy so many people are going gluten-free these days, but he said that with the exception of people with celiac disease, it's more of a fad than a medically necessary lifestyle change.

"Gluten, I think it's a bit of a social contagion. I think that the number of people that are genuinely gluten-sensitive cannot be growing as fast as the market niche is growing," Pollan said. "There are a lot of people that hear from their friends, 'I got off gluten and I sleep better, the sex is better, and I'm happier,' and then they try it and they feel better, too. The power of suggestion."

While he recognized that there is in fact a growing number of people who do fit the medical diagnosis of being a celiac, he said that often people feel better simply removing carbs from their diet, not necessarily gluten. However, he warns against going gluten-free and then adopting a diet high in processed foods.

"Some people get off gluten and then they get into this highly processed gluten-free category. Look at the ingredients in those gluten-free products," Pollan said. "It's a lot of xanthan gum and a lot of food additives that I ... wouldn't want to eat."

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation with Michael Pollan below.

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