Going Gluten Free Might Not Be That Healthy

If you're following a gluten-free diet, you may want to read this. Studies have found that by eliminating gluten, you may have unintentionally added two more harmful ingredients into your diet as a result.

Fox News reports that a recent study by the University of Illinois Chicago found that rice flour, which is used to make gluten-free products, has a tendency to accumulate toxic metals like mercury and arsenic, which can potentially lead to a higher risk of cancer, heart disease and neurological disease.

In the clinical study, researchers surveyed around 7,480 people about their diet habits, and 73 of those people claimed to follow a gluten-free diet. Of those eating a gluten-free diet, there was a more concentrated level of arsenic in their urine and mercury in their blood. Arsenic levels were actually almost double the amount of that found in non-gluten-free eaters and mercury levels were 70 percent higher in gluten-free eaters. Those are some pretty convincing numbers if you ask me.

Maria Argos, assistant professor of epidemiology at UIC and one of the study's authors, reviewed the data with her co-authors concluding that “These results indicate that there could be unintended consequences of eating a gluten-free diet. But until we perform the studies to determine if there are corresponding health consequences that could be related to higher levels of exposure to arsenic and mercury by eating gluten-free, more research is needed before we can determine whether this diet poses a significant health risk.”

Even if the diet does not pose a significant health risk, we know that concentrated amounts of mercury and arsenic are risky to our health. Argos says there are regulations for food-based arsenic exposure in Europe, and that we have regulations in the U.S. for water … but we should probably look more into regulating exposure to arsenic in our food as well. Can't argue with that logic.