Save Yourself A Trip To A Heart Doctor: Don't Go Gluten-Free If You Don't Have Celiac Disease


A new research established that long-term intake of gluten has no association with heart disease risks in individuals who do not suffer from celiac disease.

On the contrary, the study found that restricting consumption of whole grains to maintain a low-gluten diet in individuals without celiac disease, may increase their propensity to heart diseases.

For the unfamiliar, gluten is a type of storage protein found in rye, wheat, and barley. Consumption of this protein can trigger inflammation and may also damage the intestines of people suffering from celiac disease.

The autoimmune reaction triggered by the ingestion of gluten or food products containing the protein is called celiac disease. The autoimmune reaction prevents the intestine from digesting the nutrients and over time, this particular disease can lead to other complications such as heart ailments, osteoporosis, anemia, and more.

How Was The Study Conducted?

Scientists from the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and Columbia University Medical Center conducted the research entitled "Long-term Gluten Consumption in Adults without Celiac Disease and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: Prospective Cohort Study."

Lead author of the study Benjamin Lebwohl revealed that gluten is very harmful for individuals with celiac disease. However, many diet books state that a low-gluten diet is beneficial for one and all. These conclusions are drawn solely on the basis of circumstantial and anecdotal evidence.

The study's findings reveal that limiting gluten in one's daily diet has no health benefits — at least with regard to heart health in people who are non-celiac. On the other hand, it may have a negative effect on their health as the whole grains, which are restricted under the low-gluten diet may extend protection to the heart.

To determine whether a low-gluten diet has any effect on the heart health status, the researchers observed and analyzed coronary disease and data, as well as the dietary information of 65,000 females who participated in the Nurses Health Study.

The researchers also studied the data taken on the same lines from 45,000 male participants from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Both the studies excluded female and male participants with celiac disease at the outset.

Every four years — from 1986 to 2010 — the subjects filled out questionnaires detailing their dietary habits. All the participants were divided into five categories depending on their gluten intake.

"We decided to look at heart disease because it's a leading killer, and because it's generally understood that heart health can be affected by diet," Dr. Lebwohl shared.

Dietary Gluten Not Linked To Heart Disease

After thorough analysis of the data it was discovered that no link between heart disease risk and gluten intake existed. Researchers stated that the study's participants who consumed minimum gluten in their food had the same level of coronary heart ailments as those having high gluten consumption.

Senior investigator of the study Andre Chan remarked that recommendation of a low-gluten diet to avoid coronary heart disease risks is unwarranted.

In future research, the scientists intend to observe the effects of gluten consumption on more health issues such as other autoimmune disease and cancer.

The findings of the study have been published in the British Medical Journal on Tuesday, May 2.

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