With the new study, published in the journal Epidemiology, though, we are starting to see some drawbacks to this restrictive way of eating. This disease implies a odd response to the protein that can be found in rye, wheat, and barley. Specifically, the gluten-free people had two times as much arsenic and 70 percent higher mercury levels than the gluten eaters. The weighted geometric mean concentration of estimated urinary total arsenic, defined as total arsenic minus arsenobetaine and arsenocholine, was almost two-fold higher for those on a gluten-free diet (geometric mean ratio, 1.9), after adjustment for sociodemographic characteristics and urinary creatinine.
Over the past few years, you may have noticed that a lot of (occasionally smug) people have jumped on the gluten-free bandwagon.
Researchers at the University of Chicago Illinois examined blood and urine samples from 73 participants.
In order to compensate, gluten-free products oftentimes contain rice flour as a substitute for barley, rye, and wheat. "We regulate levels of arsenic in water, but if rice flour consumption increases the risk for exposure to arsenic, it would make sense to regulate the metal in foods as well". Hence, keeping away from wheat or other sources of gluten draws gluten-free individuals closer to greater intake of toxic metals including mercury and arsenic, say researchers.
"In Europe, there are regulations for food-based arsenic exposure, and perhaps that is something we here in the United States need to consider", noted Argos, as reported by Fox News. The results were near null for associations with gluten-free diet for urinary and blood lead, blood cadmium, and blood inorganic mercury. The study might question the safety of a gluten free diet, but it shows no direct link between the diet and the high toxin levels.
"If you don't have celiac disease, then these diets are not going to help you", Dr. Peter HR Green, the director of the celiac disease center at the Columbia University's medical school, told the New Yorker.
According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, as many as 18 million Americans may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity, so there's been a huge increase in food and beverage manufacturers trying to appeal to this segment with gluten-free foods. Poor ol' gluten has been blamed for everything from bloating and depression to gas, acne, and brain fog. Foods such as bread, pizza, and pasta, which contain the gluten protein, have gotten a bad rap. Celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, and Gwyneth Paltrow have all sworn by these diets as tools for improving health and weight loss. The researchers suggest that processed, gluten-free products usually replace wheat with rice, which has been found to suck up higher proportions of toxic metals from fertilizer, soil, or water. Still, more research is needed before any conclusions can be made about the dangers of gluten-free eating.