It’s unclear whether going gluten-free has any health benefits for people without celiac disease, but that hasn’t stopped the diet from catching on. Last month, a Gallup poll found that one in five Americans make a point of including at least some gluten-free food in their diet.
Those who opt for a gluten-free diet are probably thinking about the hypothetical health benefits they might enjoy. But it turns out there’s another consequence of renouncing gluten for them to ponder: the implications of a gluten-free diet for their dating lives.
A recent study published in Appetite used a simulated online dating platform to show that a gluten-free diet can change the way someone is evaluated by potential romantic partners. The study uncovered a gluten-free stereotype that appears to include both positive and negative elements.
Let’s start with the positive elements. Overall, people with a gluten-free diet were seen as healthier as well as more energetic, self-disciplined and understanding. These certainly sound like good traits in a possible date.
That said, those following a gluten-free diet also tended to be stereotyped as picky, demanding, “high-maintenance,” judgmental and prone to complaining. Not quite so flattering.
Generally, following a gluten-free diet was seen as making people more feminine. Perhaps it makes sense, then, that, men were judged more negatively than women when they adhered to a gluten-free diet.
So what’s a single-and-searching gluten-free-by-choice man to do with this troubling information? An obvious option is to leave your dietary restrictions off your Tinder profile. Of all the surprises a first date can spring on you, “I don’t eat bread” isn’t the worst there is.
But you could also just put your diet out there and let people judge as they will. After all, the more open you are about your decision to follow a gluten-free diet in the absence of a medical condition, the more likely you are to find your gluten-free soulmate!