Why You Shouldn't Have a Gluten-Free Diet if You Don't Have Celiac Disease

Fagjun | Published 2017-05-04 02:17

Gluten is a mixture of proteins and is the compound that makes dough elastic.
[Photo by Gaelle Marcel]

Scientists say that having an unnecessary gluten-free diet may make you miss out on the health benefits of foods containing gluten.

People with celiac disease need to avoid consuming gluten because of its effects. Gluten can be found in wheat, wheat derivatives, malt, brewer's yeast, rye, and other ingredients. Thus, people with celiac disease need to avoid consuming beer, wine coolers, certain condiments and seasoning, processed meats, and most baked goods.

Celiac disease, meanwhile, is a condition that makes people ill when they consume gluten. These people's immune system attacks the small intestines when gluten is present in the body. When this happens, the small intestines may become unable to absorb nutrients from food. Thus, people with celiac disease need to stay away from gluten in order to avoid the development of coronary heart disease and other long-term health conditions.

However, if you don't have celiac disease, there's no point in having a gluten-free diet. In fact, this diet may be more trouble for you than it's worth.

What Can a Gluten-Free Diet Actually Do For You?

Being gluten-free is a growing trend. People with celiac disease aren't the only ones that avoid gluten. Even those who can digest gluten with no problems at all are jumping in the bandwagon. There's a widespread belief that consuming gluten is harmful to one's health.

Scientists now say that there is no evidence that gluten is harmful to people who do not have celiac disease.

Having a gluten-free diet means avoiding or limiting the intake of grains. While gluten can put celiacs at risk of developing heart disease, non-celiacs can actually enjoy cardiovascular benefits from consuming gluten-rich foods.

These conclusions come from a long-term study on the association between the consumption of gluten and coronary heart disease development. 64,714 female and 45,303 male health professionals with no history of coronary heart disease participated in the study. The participants completed a food questionnaire in 1986 and updated their answers every four years up to 2010.

The researchers monitored gluten intake and the development of coronary heart disease over this 26-year period. They found no significant connection between the consumption of gluten and the risks of coronary heart disease.

The study was observational, and the researchers admit that they cannot actually draw firm conclusions. However, one conclusion they did make was that a gluten-free diet does not lower the risk of developing heart disease in non-celiacs.

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