VIDEO: Jimmy Kimmel Asks: What Is Gluten? And No One Knows

05/07/2014 at 01:07 PM ET

Jimmy Kimmel Lilve
Courtesy Jimmy Kimmel Live

Spaghetti, cupcakes and soy sauce all have it. Emmy Rossum and Kristin Cavallari bake without it. But what exactly is gluten?

Last night, Jimmy Kimmel wasn’t afraid to ask the tough questions on his late-night talk show.

“People are very anti-gluten, which bothers me because I’m very pro-pizza and you can’t be pro-pizza and anti-gluten,” the TV host and expert pizza maker mused. “A lot of people don’t eat gluten because someone in their yoga class told them not to… Here in L.A., it’s comparable to Satan.”

Kimmel described gluten as “a mixture of two proteins found in wheat, and some other natural grains.” Not so scientific, but when his team took to the streets of L.A. to poll a few exercising pedestrians — a few of them shirtless — who admitted they maintain a gluten-free diet, the knowledge was even more fuzzy. Take a wild guess at how many knew what the much-maligned ingredient actually is.

Zero! Hesitant answers ranged from “a grain…right?” to “I haven’t researched it to the fullest.”

For the record, the official definition of gluten, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “a tenacious elastic protein substance especially of wheat flour that gives cohesiveness to dough.” Also for the record, some people really can’t eat it for medical reasons. But for those who’ve jumped on the trendy anti-gluten bandwagon, Kimmel offers this food for thought: “Maybe gluten doesn’t exist!”

—Brooke Showell

Share this story:

Your reaction:

Add A Comment reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

Showing 11 comments

Deborah on

Just wondering why did Jimmy call the last guy a Jewish John Hamm?

Harmony on

Deborah – I think it’s because his shirt says “SUPER JEW,” and he slightly resembles Jon Hamm.

Anonymous on

Read up on Celiac Disease and then you will know what gluten is….it can kill if left untreated! Life sucks for people with it!

Kane on

Funny, I would be one of those morons who really doesn’t know what it is either. I’m sure their is more people out there that won’t know either.

Anonymous on

Jimmy, I love pizza. In ƒåct Mammas and Papas Pizza as well as Dominos iƒ you’re ƒéeling cheap oƒƒers Gluten ƒree crust and it is in ƒåct really tasty. Try being gluten ƒree ƒor a week and see how those cheekbones look. . . :).

Driver on

My daughter has Celiac Disease, and really, truly can NOT eat gluten for her health. Untreated, CD can lead to lots of health problems and even certain lymphomas. Not to mention, if she ate gluten today she’d vomit, suffer diarrhea and stomach cramps, and be sick for days.

People going gluten-free “for fun” or as part of a fad diet are actually having a harmful effect on CD-sufferers. While yes, more and more “gluten-free” options are available… many of those are being labeled GF just to sell, but without true understanding of the restaurant or provider of what truly being GF entails. (As in, no cross-contamination, and certification to under 20 PPM.)

Laura on

It’s sad that everyone in the audience agrees that the minorities don’t know what gluten is. Suck em all.

Cristin on

I’ve been dealing with being gluten free for over 10 years, and for medical reasons. It’s not a “diet”. Do people go on Diabetes diets to loose weight? No.
I get a kick out of people when they ask either stupid questions, like “is a potato gluten free?” Or when someone is saying how a gluten free diet will help them loose 15 lbs. NO…. Stop eating packaged food, fast food, cook for yourself!
And ps. Rice is gluten free. That girl is dumb!

Jana on

I was devastated when I found out I couldn’t eat gluten for medical reasons – CELIAC – ahhhh. I’m a pasta, pizza, cookies, and crackers girl – so finding gluten free replacements has been an interesting journey. Its weird tho that some people abstain from it just cuz. If my intestines weren’t attacking themselves because of my illness I would definitely NOT cut gluten out….um I’m pretty sure that it is unhealthy – actually I am 100% sure that abstaining from gluten when you shouldn’t be is unhealthy.

Sue Bennett on

Jimmy Kimmel is ignorant on multipole counts – gluten free pizza does exist, so pizza and gluten aren’t mutually exclusive. The reason gluten is considered bad is because it harms so many people – it is a factor in celiac disease which is on the rise and frequently contributes to symptoms autism which effects one in 75 kids in the U.S. (I am the parent of a kid on the spectrum who improved greatly when wheat was removed from his diet). The rate of allergic response to gluten is skyrocketing. It turns out that Round-up, which is an herbicide widely used by agriculture in the last 10 years instead of plowing can actually contribute to a gluten allergy. I know all this because I specialize in selling supplements for autism and just returned from a health food conference where current research was discussed in detail concerning wheat and gluten. There are additional problems with genetically modified (GMO) wheat and its impact on health and neurological development. So most people in the U.S. would feel better and be healthier if they removed wheat from their diet. Refined carbohydrates also feed yeast infections and intestinal pathogens and are also quite common and often undiagnosed. If you want to find out more, email me at contactautismcoach(at)gmail(dot)com and I’ll send you links.

Anonymous on

GMO wheat is not commercially produced. Gluten is not related to GMO events.

Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters