Presenter Information

Monique Kelly, Colby CollegeFollow

Location

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

Start Date

1-5-2014 2:00 PM

End Date

1-5-2014 3:00 PM

Project Type

Poster

Description

Ten years ago, most people had never heard of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, but awareness of these conditions have recently exploded, resulting in a craze to purchase gluten-free food items. Walk down the isles of Whole Foods or any other grocery store today and you will see labels for gluten free everywhere. These products were originally designed for people who have been diagnosed with a gluten digestive disorder. However, the gluten-free diet has expanded beyond those diagnosed with gluten sensitivity because millions of people are claiming it makes them feel better or helps them lose weight. In this paper, I will analyze the pros and cons of a gluten-free diet and understand the reasoning behind the growing industry. How much of the industrys growth can be attributed to changes in cultural behaviors though celebrity support, food packaging, and community opinions? Using an explanatory research method, I will seek answers to these questions through historical, philosophical, and anthropological analysis. Examining event characteristics from 1970 to the present will allow me to outline developments of the gluten-free lifestyle. Also surveying and interviewing members of Colbys community will provide me with qualitative and quantitative data for a case study. Colby students, professors, doctors, dining hall staff, and librarians will each provide unique opinions about the rising gluten-free culture. This new subject is one with many unanswered questions and limited conclusive data, which is why further research is needed. Therefore, by examining the gluten-free discourse, I would like to publish my own analysis of the gluten-free diet through a cultural lens and add to discussion of the dietary fad.

Faculty Sponsor

Paul Josephson

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. Science, Technology and Society Program

CLAS Field of Study

Interdisciplinary Studies

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

224

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May 1st, 2:00 PM May 1st, 3:00 PM

Watch What 'Whe-eat' - A Cultural Analysis of the Gluten-Free Diet

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

Ten years ago, most people had never heard of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, but awareness of these conditions have recently exploded, resulting in a craze to purchase gluten-free food items. Walk down the isles of Whole Foods or any other grocery store today and you will see labels for gluten free everywhere. These products were originally designed for people who have been diagnosed with a gluten digestive disorder. However, the gluten-free diet has expanded beyond those diagnosed with gluten sensitivity because millions of people are claiming it makes them feel better or helps them lose weight. In this paper, I will analyze the pros and cons of a gluten-free diet and understand the reasoning behind the growing industry. How much of the industrys growth can be attributed to changes in cultural behaviors though celebrity support, food packaging, and community opinions? Using an explanatory research method, I will seek answers to these questions through historical, philosophical, and anthropological analysis. Examining event characteristics from 1970 to the present will allow me to outline developments of the gluten-free lifestyle. Also surveying and interviewing members of Colbys community will provide me with qualitative and quantitative data for a case study. Colby students, professors, doctors, dining hall staff, and librarians will each provide unique opinions about the rising gluten-free culture. This new subject is one with many unanswered questions and limited conclusive data, which is why further research is needed. Therefore, by examining the gluten-free discourse, I would like to publish my own analysis of the gluten-free diet through a cultural lens and add to discussion of the dietary fad.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2014/program/303