A gluten free diet is becoming all the rage. High profile celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Kourtney Kardashian swear by their gluten free diet, a ritual that has influenced millions of people. Instagram and social media influencers also boast about the fantastic benefits of staying off the flour and wheat daily. This has resulted in the gluten-free market growing 136% between 2013 and 2015, and this is a trend that does not appear to be halting.
However, recent research suggests that a gluten free diet may actually be harmful. Scientists in the US have concluded that gluten helps prevent heart disease, and as a consequence those removing gluten from their diets may be increasing their risk of cardiovascular problems. Not only this, but many gluten free foods are said to have a high content of toxic metals. The same study in the US proved that those on gluten free diets had 70% more mercury in their blood, and abnormally high traces of cadmium and lead.
These results almost appear ironic, especially as those with gluten free diets are doing it almost entirely for the health benefits. However, those who are coeliac have no real choice. Coeliac disease is a digestive condition that causes problems in the small intestine. The intestine becomes inflamed, making it unable to absorb nutrients, and also making it painful for the sufferer. The only known cure is to adopt a gluten-free diet, and thus people who are coeliac REALLY have no other choice!
But despite this, there are genuine health benefits to a gluten-free diet, and many of the aforementioned problems are as a result of “gluten-free” replacements for popular gluten rich foods. Going gluten free can help weight loss, improve cholesterol and energy levels, and increasing digestive health. So, it’s not all bad…
Perhaps the apt response to this recent research is to think about removing the amount of gluten in your diet for the health benefits, but not actively going gluten free (unless, of course, you are coeliac). Gluten in moderation will enable you to take advantage of the health benefits whilst also preventing the potentially harmful side effects and improving your cardiovascular health.