Overly restricting whole grains don’t help people without celiac disease, according to a Harvard research.
The truth about gluten-free diets
The food industry constantly stimulates the popularity of gluten-free diets. Due to the large public interest in the matter, researchers at Harvard Medical School wanted to see whether avoiding gluten actually offers health benefits for people who do not have the disease.
Celiac disease affects 1-2% of Canadians, meaning a number of 300,000 people, according to Health Canada.
Their study proved that gluten-free diets shouldn’t be promoted anymore for heart disease prevention among people without celiac disease, according to gastroenterologist experts.
Dr. Andrew Chan who is an associate professor of medicine at Harvard along with his team used diet and health outcome data from 110,000 health professionals collected over 26 years for their study.
Low intake of gluten triggers higher risk for heart disease
Chan said in an interview that the results of the study showed that “there was actually no absolute difference in risk of heart disease in individuals according to their gluten intake”, confirming the fact that “in those individuals that actually had low intakes of gluten, they also tended to have diets that were also low in whole grains and so subsequently because of that also had a somewhat higher risk of developing heart disease.”
What limiting whole grain can actually do
The specialists also said that for individuals who are looking at gluten as a potential factor that should be considered in their diet, there is actually no real evidence that the restriction of the amount of gluten that we consume has benefits for the heart health. More than that, by limiting the intake of whole grain, we can cause harm to our overall health.
Indeed, there are some people who suffer from gluten allergy, but the mechanism is not the same in people without the celiac disease.
Chan stressed out the fact that the study’s results do not in any way alter the usual recommendations for people with celiac disease. On the other hand, regarding the people without the disease, things are quite different. Gluten free diets are being promoted for weight loss but they turn out to be able to lead to weight gain, instead.
As a conclusion, going gluten free is by no means a magic way of losing weight or for improving your health, in case you don’t suffer from celiac disease.