As the most Trump-iest voting state in America, Oklahoma is probably one of the top conservative places in the country. I just thought that meant our state was filled with people who feared God, gun laws, and “girls” in politics, in that order. But according to a recent study conducted at Oklahoma State University, I guess it really means that conservatives actually fear things like whole wheat flour and soy sauce.
Via The Tulsa World…
An Oklahoma State University professor recently examined the politics of gluten and found President Donald Trump’s supporters are more likely than others to try and cut gluten from their diets.
While politics continue to bleed into Americans’ daily lives, Bailey Norwood, an OSU professor of agricultural economics, sought to determine if the stereotype that liberals are more likely to shun gluten is accurate…
Participants were asked to what extent they agree or disagree with statements about their health as it relates to gluten, including whether they believed themselves to be gluten-sensitive, or whether they felt noticeably worse after eating foods containing gluten.
Those surveyed were then asked questions about their political beliefs, such as which of the four most recent U.S. presidents they favored. Results show those who try to avoid eating gluten favored Trump over Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Now ya’ll, I know that eating gluten can actually make people ill in some cases. But what was super surprising about the study’s findings is that those respondents with celiac disease – a disorder in which consuming gluten can lead to intestinal damage – tended to vote more towards the liberal side. The author of the study had a hypothesis as to why this was the case…
The study doesn’t attempt to answer why Trump supporters are more likely to shun gluten, but Norwood has his theories.
He pointed to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ show “Infowars” that sells gluten-free items and has published numerous articles on so-called dangers of gluten. Norwood dismissed the show as “crazy,” but said Jones’ conspiracy theories could be contributing to growing skepticism about gluten.
In a similar vein, people who are more likely to believe “fake news” and conspiracy theories are more likely to be nervous about gluten without scientific evidence to that effect, Norwood said.
“People who are more suspicious of institutions, whether it be political institutions or institutions of wheat, you could kind of see those folks being more gluten sensitive,” he said. “They’re just more suspicious toward everything.”
Now as a former Oklahoma State University researcher myself, I want to remind you that correlation does not always equal causation. That means that just because two items or events are related, it is not necessarily the case that one is causing the other.
Yes, it is possible that these conservative voters may be more likely to believe “fake news,” which may lead them to be hesitant about consuming gluten even though the science doesn’t support the idea that gluten is inherently dangerous (again, unless in cases like Celiac disease). But it could also be the case that the government is using chemicals on our wheat that are crystalizing the pineal gland in the brain, thus decreasing our ability to think rationally, and therefore making it more likely that those who consume gluten are more likely to vote liberal. I guess until further research is conducted, either hypothesis is possible.
Hayley really was a researcher. Follow her on twitter @squirrellygeek