The Today Show Misleads, Misinforms & Even Misspells. What a Sad Gluten-Free Mess.

today show gluten free

I took an awesome yoga class tonight. At the end of the class we did some deep breathing and were instructed to “inhale love and exhale gratitude.” I love that. Inhale love and exhale gratitude. Imagine if we could all do that all day long. What a great world we’d live in.

But right now, I’m not feeling any love or gratitude whatsoever toward the Today Show. Once again, they have made absolute fools of themselves in their segment on “healthy gluten-free eating” and they have shown that they have their head up their behinds when it comes to celiac disease.

Jennifer Esposito contacted me Friday morning with the following:

I just flipped out watching the Today Show. They had the South Beach Gluten Free Diet people on. Not only did they misspell the word celiac, they said that celiacs can’t have “much” gluten due to a serious allergy. We have to join forces and do something.

Then she went public on Twitter with it and boy did it generate some buzz. Once I saw the video, I understood why. It was a pathetic display of…ahem ahem…entertainment.

Here’s the Gluten Dude video breakdown. As usual, my apologies for the crappy quality of the above video. I recorded the video with my phone to make sure I had the original in all its gluten free glory.

You may want to wait 30 minutes after eating before viewing. Yes…it’s that bad.

The Today Show Gluten Free Video Breakdown

00.11: Naturally, they open the segment by talking about the celebrities who have gone gluten free because lord knows, this is SO IMPORTANT. What celebs do they mention? Gwyneth, Gaga, Clinton and the Spice Girl. How about a celeb that has celiac disease? I guess not sexy enough.

00:33: Savannah says “Many stay away from gluten because of food sensitivities or allergies. 1% of the population suffers from celiac disease.”

Woo-hoo! They mentioned celiac disease.

Crap…they spelled it wrong.

today show celiacToo funny, in a sad kind of way. See the screen grab to the right. They fixed this error on their video eventually but still, what does this tell you? I mean really, how do you spell the word celiac wrong and how does it then make it on the air??

01:06: Naturally, they can’t talk about gluten without somebody trying to profit from it, so now we realize the segment is built around the new South Beach Diet Gluten Solution book, which ironically I just talked about a few days ago.

Here’s the how they worded it: “Now the South Beach Diet has joined the pack; losing the little protein in the hopes of gaining new followers.” Funny…not “in the hopes of helping more people”, but straight out “in the hopes of lining the author’s pockets more.”

I didn’t like the idea of the book two days ago. Now I hate it.

01:28: Savannah says “Let’s get one thing straight right at the beginning. There is a serious condition called celiac disease.”

Do you think they received some negative press from the last time I called the Today Show out. I’d like to think…but doubtful. But still happy to hear this.

01:37: Savannah says “it’s almost like an allergy to gluten, correct?”

So much for being happy.

Actually, it’s nothing like an allergy to gluten. It’s an autoimmune disease. And to those who say I’m being unreasonable picky, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect a show with a zillion dollar budget to get the facts about our disease correct. But hey, I’m sure the doctor/author will set things straight.

01:57: Ok…I was wrong. Dr. Agatston has no clue whatsoever. He says that celiac disease is like a nut allergy. Really doc? In what way? And then he says celiacs “can’t have almost any gluten.”


He should have been yanked off the show right there and then but alas…we proceed.

02:00: Dr. Agatston starts pushing the “everybody should fear gluten” mantra. It is painfully obvious he is simply trying to cash in on the gluten free fad and sell his new book. This is just so wrong in so many ways.

02:13: Dr. Agatston “guarantees” that the majority of the show’s viewers have gluten sensitivity issues. This is insane. It has been estimated by celiac experts that about 6% to 7% of the population suffers from gluten sensitivity. But in order to sell more books, he pulls numbers out of his you know what.

Now a real journalist may have questioned him on his numbers. But Savannah? Yeah right.

02:41: The Today Show nutrition expert says the ONLY way to determine if you are gluten sensitive is to give up gluten. This is true, since there is no test. But how about suggesting you get tested for celiac disease first? Shouldn’t that be the first step, since once you are off gluten, the celiac test (blood work and endoscopy) is no longer accurate?

And this nutrition expert, who as far as I can tell has no connection to the book itself, keeps taking about “the plan” and why it’s so important. Why is she pushing the book so much? Weird.

03:05: They say if you are carb free, you are gluten free. Speechless.

04:10: “Gluten free does not mean calorie free. You still need to moderate your portions.” The first smart thing they’ve said.

The rest of the video is just blah, blah, blah.

So I find it ironic. On the same day where we had a nice small celiac awareness victory, where we called a company out and got them to make immediate changes, we have this Today Show debacle.

So to the good folks at the Today Show, I say this: You are a fluff show with fluff reporters. Stick to celebs and dishing out the latest gossip. Please save gluten free and celiac disease for the experts.

Celiacs around the world will be so thankful.

Breathe in…love.

Breathe out…gratitude.

Ok…I’m in my happy place again.

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70 thoughts on “The Today Show Misleads, Misinforms & Even Misspells. What a Sad Gluten-Free Mess.”

  1. Holy cr*p, how can any “responsible” physician so misinform anyone, never mind on The Today Show and millions (potentially) of people?! I figured out about being a celiac by doing several weeks of Phase I of the South Beach Diet and the return of symptoms with reintroduction of wheat products I thought how awesome that this connection could be utilised for others with undiagnosed celiac disease.

    To go and give such horrendously incorrect information is unconscionable if not downright ludicrous. No wonder I choose not to waste my time watching that show! And I have lost a ton of respect for the diet doctor without enough sense to get informed before lining his pockets.

    Just sign me: disgusted to the core.

  2. Celiac Mindwarp

    Just outrageous.

    There is no reason this diet could not be very good for some celiacs. If the author HAD A CLUE.

    I don’t understand why this level of misinformation is not gross professional misconduct.

    We have some problems with our media in the UK. My view is that anyone who prints or broadcast something incorrect should present a correction of the same space, duration and prominence. That would encourage accuracy.

    (A girl’s gotta dream…)

  3. You know, I used to think you were a teeny bit militant about all this, until I started watching what you were watching, and reading what you were reading… then, I experienced my ‘illness being a craze’ this week, (that story I emailed you about the grocery store lady) first-hand. It’s insane. Imagine cancer being a craze. Or MS. Or Diabetes (all of which are diseases in my immediate family [and they’re all auto-immune diseases, yet I’m the ‘only’ celiac, hmm). It’s gross, and I am increasingly worried about the safety of the food I eat because everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, and companies are falling all over themselves to profit from it. I wrote an angry complaint letter to o French Canadian bakery because their ‘no gluten products’ claimed they were for celiacs… made in a fully gluten-filled bakery, no special kitchen, no separate utensils, etc. One angry complaint later, they fixed their website to remove the ‘safe for celiacs’ claim, but they should have been smart and responsible enough to figure it out themselves.

    OK well now I need to go run a whole big bunch, ’cause this celiac and angry and she isn’t going to take it anymore!!!! 😉

    Thanks GlutenDude, and thanks GF community. xo

  4. “Yes, you want to shoot them” for saying we celiacs cannot have “almost any” gluten. Right on, Amen, and sing it sister!

    But, the University of Boston did a study the year before last, which said that up to 19% of the population is affected by gluten-intolerance. (I’m from a family of people with two celiacs and three people with gluten-intorance, so I’d believe it.) Is that a majority? Ummm…”No, he’s still really wrong.” He’s not THAT wrong, though. That’s one in five people.

    Also, I hate the trendy stuff. The minute someone says, “Gwyneth is doing it.” I know I’m going to get a waiter somewhere who will “forget” the soy sauce in something….

    So yeah, they suck. Just not entirely.

  5. My GOD, that was awful — and I don’t even have Celiac disease; I have an intolerance. I, too, really hate it when something becomes popular because ‘the celebrities do it,’ and I’m saying this as someone who is has a guilty pleasure for celebrity gossip. I’m glad I work for a (Canadian) news organization that doesn’t sensationalize every hot-at-the-moment ‘allergy.’

  6. Doctor Nancy Snyderman should have her license revoked for her unbelievable remarks and diagnosis in 99% of her interviews. She also can’t interview on her own.

    These three are total idiots. The show has lost all credibility!

  7. I just want to make one wee little point. Not going to address the video at all, because you’ve done that well. Celiac experts may have come up with a number of 6-7% of the population as gluten intolerants/sufferers, but it’s becoming clear to me, and to others who suffer from autoimmune diseases other than celiac disease, that gluten is at least a factor in these diseases as well. It is possible that many or all autoimmune processes are at least affected by gluten, so that number has to be much higher, I think. P.S., Dr. Agatston is an irresponsible nitwit.

    1. David, dear David…you always manage to say so eloquently what so many of us are thinking 🙂

      I told the Dude via email yesterday…..and I will say it here:

      The Today Show is trash.
      The boozy tarts (really, Hoda Kotbe, you used to be a serious news journalist–what the heck are you thinking?? Please, go back to being a journalist and dump your “sidekick”. She’s obnoxious and I’m being kind here..) , the continual errors in reporting, the nauseating celeb-worshiping done by all the “reporters”….and they always, always get it wrong when it comes to Celiac Disease. They call us trendy, they call us picky, they call it an allergy…. and they never, ever report any corrections after they are bombarded with correct information.

      I haven’t watched this show for years. I did not even watch the clip (the Dude’s play- by -play is sufficient) and I suspect even our objections will fall on deaf ears once more.

      Breathe in, breathe out…..ah, that’s better.

  8. Yeah the Doctor seemed kind of awkward. You can tell he didn’t really know what he was talking about, he just wants to sell that book. What a waste of paper.

  9. Gaahhh – that was painful. I feel like someone just used my heart as a punching bag. Wow. I didn’t think the media could go any lower than Dr. Drew…

      1. There is something fishy at that site you replied to. I just looked and there are no comments from you two that I could see. At least 2 comments were dated 2010. Not sure how that could be if they didn’t post it until April 2013?

          1. You’re right. My comment is pending moderation. GD, is your comment awaiting moderation, too? Funny how the story is posted 4/7/13, but the comments listed go back to 2010 like you say. That may be from an earlier episode of the Today show, but I’m confused on how it was posted 4/7. Need to do some sleuthing here, I think…

            1. Yeah…no idea about it now. My comment is not ever under moderation anymore…just gone.

              I hate websites that moderate comments by the way…especially small websites.

            2. ok, so my apologies on that. I guess that link was to an earlier post from that site from a previous episode… I just finally had time to sit and look into it (and realize that today is the 7th. lol) so, if it was posted yesterday…yeah, I think you get my point. It really was an older post from a previous Today show so I’m sorry for posting a link to an old story. Anyway, thank you GD for posting the video!

  10. I emailed them, asking for a correction, reminding them that fact-checking is a good thing, and informing them that their mistruths can actually hurt people. I doubt it will do any good, but, perhaps if enough people contact them, we can see something change….and, even if that doesn’t happen, it certainly feels good to say something about their incompetence to their “faces!!!!”

  11. I know this sucks. I get that. But, my parents saw that clip while they were in the doctor’s waiting room and couldn’t wait to tell me about it. They seemed impressed that celiac disase was a real thing (and not just in my head) and was actually mentioned on national TV by a real doctor. So, while this does suck (in a really major way) the word “celiac” is getting out there. Don’t bash me with “yes but it’s wrong information” because I know. And that’s the absolute sucky part. But that word “celiac” is getting more playtime which means that some listener, somewhere, might be motivated to look it up.

    I try and talk about celiac disease to any food worker, friend, and acquaintence who seems even mildly interested. I hope someone, somewhere will pick up on the word, do a little research, and find an answer to their problems. I’ve already inspired four people to get tested.

    1. Yes but it’s wrong information. Sorry…just being a wise a**.

      It’s always a fine line between being happy about the awareness but pissed about how it’s portrayed.

  12. can you say PATHETIC? These clowns just make the whole thing looks like a big joke. Sad. And people listen to this crap and think they know what they’re talking about. There are so many things wrong with this clip, I don’t even know where to start..

  13. I cannot believe how insane this video was. It made me feel like Madeline Kahn in CLUE

    Seriously though, it is interesting that in a week when I read an article about all the failings and machinations behind the scenes at THE TODAY SHOW, and how their ratings keep falling, I find it interesting that they basically took the authors talking points and presented them as facts when talking about the Gluten Free diet and Celiac Disease. 5 minutes of internet research would have gotten them more accurate and factual information.

    Sad, but further proof of how far NBC has fallen.

    1. Oh, I’m breathing in and out, alright.

      “I hated it… so…much. It… the f—, it…flame… flames… flames on the side of my face, breathing, breath… heaving, breaths…”

      Brilliant Mel!

      1. holy smokes…LOL
        I must have missed this link to the video clip on my first cruise through here. Thanks, Mel.
        (my face must have been in flames to have skipped over that! )

        This woman was a comedic genius. Blazing Saddles.
        “I’m so Tired”.

        ***oh crap!! I see the obnoxious spammers have made us all subject to the darn math questions again!! oh man, *&^%$ you, spammers!

        1. Aha, Madeline Kahn; the only thing to get my mind off this crazy Today Show piece.

          Madeline’s famous selection scene from “History of the World: Part 1” could be used to describe the media bites that go out about Celiac Disease:

          “No, no, no, no, no, no, YES.”

  14. I started to watch it, but had to stop the video. I’m in too bad a mood already. This came on the same day I received a *24-page* glossy ad in the mail, addressed personally to me, urging me to buy the new “Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight! Cookbook.” “Discover how to lose up to 10 pounds in 14 days!” Learn how to cook without gluten, and the pounds will melt away. (If I find out who sold them my name and address, that’ll be one subscription dropped fast.)

    “Celiac” [ciliac!] is coming to mean “fad diet follower.” You know, someone who can only eat a little bit of gluten. (We have a bagel restaurant here that advertises “gluten-free” bagels for, as they put it, the “large majority of our customers (who) are only mildly allergic or not eating gluten for other health reasons.”) It’s just a “gluten-free lifestyle” (a term I loathe).

    Sorry… I’m ranting. This stuff makes me so angry, and I’m so sick of it. And it’s only getting worse. This South Beach/Wheat Belly Media monster blitz is the worst yet. It’s going to get a lot worse thanks to shysters like this and the brainless media that give them a platform.

  15. In my humble opinion this is not promoting “awareness” in a good way at all (except for maybe Darlena’s parents recognizing it as “real”) Then again, other AI diseases such as AIDS were once misunderstood and misinformation was constantly relayed to the public in the media until they “got it right”. (Some dopes still have misconceptions about it, but that’s their problem.)

    People are already equating celiac with” weight loss fad”.
    Yup, my 90 lbs. and malabsorption and slow death for 3 years was exactly how I wanted to lose that weight. whoohoo! (insert that emoticon guy who does the dramatic eye roll here)

    In conversation with someone recently, she asked how I was doing and finished with “you are trying that gluten free diet thing, right?”

    Trying it? (I wouldn’t mind, but she knows I have Celiac and she knows the hell I went through) I said “NO, I live it. I have to follow it or die”.

    THEN she told me almost everyone in her office is doing it, but it’s “so hard” and they “get pizza on Friday to reward themselves”
    Yup, they all read Wheat Belly and other books on the evils of wheat and gluten and that was what sold them on it..

    So, they follow their “practically gluten free” diet.
    (I am sighing a lot this week…………)

      1. How about- “You could if your life depended on it” ?

        I tried to find this video on the Today Show website and couldn’t. Wanted to see the comments.

      2. Alysa,
        I am sure others have their own retort to this type of comment, but I usually say something like”Well, hon , that’s because it’s optional for you. It’s a medical necessity for me. And I HAVE TO DO IT to stay alive.!” Then, I wink.and smile at them.

        If they say “But it’s awful, there’s nothing to eat!!!” (I do not get that part at all, truth be told, but I think what they really mean is…nothing FAST and convenient to eat ) so I say:

        ” It’s no big deal –because I am a helluva cook. I mean, really…do I look deprived?” 🙂

        I know you can’t see me, but I don’t… LOL

        For most people, “trying a diet” because they want to lose weight is easily discarded when they find it becomes difficult. But we celiacs take the time to learn to make GF desserts, breads, pastas, etc. to expand our existing recipes. I think “gluten free” has a bad connotation. When I make dinner and dessert for people, they realize GF doesn’t necessarily mean “sucky and tasteless”. It just means darn good food.

  16. Its amazing how as a celiac you have to keep defending you disease!! It’s good that there’s awareness but not when the information is incorrect. It still bugs me that they make it seem like its so easy to go on this diet and everything will be fine.

    Why don’t they talk about all the hidden sources of gluten?! Or what about cross contamination!?! Or how sometimes the symptoms seem like they not going away?! Or when you have to fend off the flu every other week and you so exhausted and can’t get out of bed?!

    Any one can write a book but surely you have a responsibility to the public. I guess that’s where your own personal perspective has to step in. Glad you guys brought attention to this and I hope people don’t blindly believe everything they say about the “gluten-free fad” diet.

    1. “Why don’t they talk about all the hidden sources of gluten?! Or what about cross contamination!?! ”

      Simple…because 1) it’s a lot more sexy to talk about which celebs are gluten free; and 2) that won’t help sell his book.

  17. Maybe your comments have made an impact….this doctor was just on my locat Fox affiliate this morning. He stated that the 1% of folks who have Celiac disease (like my son) can’t have ANY gluten in their diet. The news anchor seemed to be very informed and asked him to clarify that it wasn’t just bread or pasta but that you actually have to dissect the ingredients to determine if the food contain gluten. So yes…I agree…he’s trying to sell a book. But his comments this morning seemed to be accurate….at least with the guidance of the wonderful news anchor at Fox8 in Greensboro, NC! 🙂

  18. This is depressing. Obviously Dr. Agatson “wrote” a book before he chose to educate himself about what celiac disease is and what gluten intolerance is.

    And further…ew…Today Show? Really? Can they get any more stupid? Who watches that anymore? I think they’ve offended just about everybody. I’ve gotten my comments on air before and its obvious that they just don’t think about their actions – they just broadcast whatever’s in front of them.

    1. I thought the best part was when Savannah even pronounced it “ciliac”. It was a taped part of the segment and she couldn’t even get the pronunciation down? Classic.

  19. I’m so glad you called them out on this and I knew you would! I was watching this segment and it made me sick! Nothing but profiteers here! It’s a crime! How do they keep getting away with all this misinformation????

  20. WOW what happened to responsible journalism… this is RIDICULOUS. But honestly, I hate the TODAY Show and this is just one example why. All they care is about sensationalizing and not reporting the real news. Dr. Oz is just as awful.

  21. To be fair (and in hopes that the book is better than this particular *interview*), the doctor spoke very little. The two women were too busy trying to talk over him the whole time, and it was clearly rushed. It was an inappropriately short segment to address an issue that is far deeper than can be addressed in sound bites. This was the exact same situation with the CBS Jennifer Esposito situation. They ram ahead, not really hearing what the other person has to say, because they do what they do because they like to hear themselves talk. In addition, they have VERY little time to prepare a LOT of material–they gloss over, get Cliff Notes, whatever. They can’t possibly read all they need to read in detail to prepare properly for something so serious. It’s irresponsible that they continue to make attempts to address celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity in bits and pieces.

    1. “They ram ahead, not really hearing what the other person has to say, because they do what they do because they like to hear themselves talk.”

      You just summed up today’s media in one sentence 🙂

  22. Hadn’t seen or heard about this – how does ciliac get by so many proofreaders? I found myself getting angry while watching such a misinformed segment, so your advice from yoga class really came in handy! Loved the ending, too!

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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