But are they really healthy?
According to the Mayo Clinic, about 1.8 million Americans have the autoimmune disorder celiac disease (aka gluten allergy). While that accounts for about .57% of the population, far more are opting to go gluten-free for its alleged health benefits. According to The New York Times, sales of gluten-free products rose 5% in 2010 alone, with the market projected to become a $15 billion industry by 2016. Large companies haven't turned a blind eye. Giants like General Mills have been laboriously revamping their recipes to omit gluten. Whether or not this is just a passing fad or a gluten-free diet actually has any real health benefits, some believe the conscientiousness of what we eat is a step in the right direction regardless. "There is a growing population of people who have somehow heard that gluten-free is healthier or think of it as fashionable," Hitesh Hajarnavis, chief executive of Popcorn Indiana told The New York Times, "when they remove gluten from their diet, they're inadvertently taking out a lot of processed foods and are really feeling the benefits of eating healthier foods." [NYTimes]
Smoking weed could help fight HIV?
That's what an article in AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses reports. Taking in THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) supposedly protects gut tissue from HIV infection, slowing down the death of cells. The study was conducted on macaque monkeys, so whether or not this will work for humans is still up in the air. [EurekAlert]
If your doctor is a jerk, you won’t lose weight.
A new Johns Hopkins study found that obese people who felt they were getting a scornful eye and condescension from their physicians tried harder to drop the pounds but had a greater chance of failing. "Negative encounters can prompt a weight-loss attempt, bur our study shows they do not translate into success," says Kimberly A. Gudzune, the study's lead author. "Ideally, we need to talk about weight loss without making patients feel they are being judged." The study recommends that doctors should be counseled on how to broach the topic lightly and sensitively, giving their patients the necessary support and understanding they need to move forward confidently. [EurekAlert]