Several studies show that gluten-free diets are particularly risky and so should only be followed if diagnosed with gluten intolerance.
Several studies have found that gluten-free can be particularly risky with regards to overall health, and so should only be followed by people who have been diagnosed with celiac disease, or gluten intolerance.
Gluten, found in wheat, barley and rye, is a protein that makes food elastic while baking, and chewy while eating. People with genuine gluten-intolerance can face seriously debilitating symptoms, such as vomiting, anemia, nerve issues, inflammation, and may also increase their risk of developing coronary heart disease. However, most of those with gluten-intolerance do not show symptoms.
Going Gluten-Free Without A Diagnosis
It has been a growing idea that going gluten-free without necessarily being diagnosed, is generally healthier and lowers risks of heart disease.
However, Harvard University researchers analyzed data of almost 120,000 people over a period of 26 years and concluded that there is no link between gluten-free diets and risk of heart disease. They then warned that going gluten-free will likely lower the intake of whole-grain foods, which are good for the heart.
“The popularity of a low gluten or gluten-free diet in the general population has markedly increased in recent years,” said Harvard Med School’s Dr Andrew Chan.
“However these findings underscore the potential that people who severely restrict gluten intake may also significantly limit their intake of whole grains, which may actually be associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes.”
“The promotion of gluten-free diets among people without coeliac disease should not be encouraged.”
"Several studies have demonstrated that gluten-free diets may not provide adequate amounts of trace elements and vitamins such as calcium, vitamin D, folate, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin," the authors said.
"A gluten-free diet may adversely affect cardiovascular risk factors such as total cholesterol levels, weight gain leading to obesity, glucose tolerance and blood pressure and may lead to development of the metabolic syndrome," they add.