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Why Gluten-Free Diet Is Harmful?

Posted Jun 12, 2019

Going gluten-free is one of the most popular health trends of the past decade. However, there is some confusion over whether gluten is problematic for everyone or just those with certain medical conditions. It’s obvious that some people must avoid it for health reasons, for example, those with celiac disease or an intolerance. If you believe that a gluten-free diet is good for your health, and deliberately don’t buy products containing wheat, barley, and rye, then you may be harming your body.

What Is Gluten and What Foods Contain It

Gluten is a complex plant protein, its task is to combine other proteins. It is contained in many grains, for example in wheat, oats, barley. The body doesn’t receive enough iron, magnesium, and vitamins of groups B and D without gluten. It also contains 18 amino acids, some of which the human body cannot synthesize itself. Gluten helps to easily absorb calcium and phosphorus, which is especially important for infants.

Brown flour, rice flour, and corn flour do not contain gluten, but in the manufacture of dough from these grades of flour, you have to add special thickeners and fats, which is harmful to the body.

The Dangers of Gluten

In people suffering from celiac disease, and there are only about 1%, gluten causes a reaction that prevents the absorption of nutrients. This disease causes painful symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea and nausea.

Symptoms of celiac disease can appear both minor and very pronounced: up to damage to the intestines, hemorrhoids, hair loss and anemia. Such people need a gluten-free diet throughout their lives. However, there is a tendency when gluten-free products are increasingly chosen by people who do not suffer from celiac disease but simply consider such foods more healthy.

Growth in Gluten-Free Products as a Result of Marketing

Sales of gluten-free products rose 12% worldwide over the past year. For comparison, total sales of products increased by 4%. In the UK, about 30% of the adult population deliberately reduced consumption of gluten-containing products or actively avoid them.

People's fascination with gluten-free products is currently a fashion. Its popularity is associated with the difficulty for a person without medical education to understand the causes of celiac disease and attempts to protect themselves in this way. In many restaurants, you can find gluten-free dishes, which will have special marks on the menu, along with vegetarian ones. But in this case, it would also be correct to mark dishes for diabetics and people suffering from lactose intolerance in the menu.

Study of the Link Between Gluten-Free Foods and Heart Disease

A team of 13 scientists from Harvard and Columbia University in New York said that a gluten-free diet to prevent heart disease couldn’t be recommended for people not suffering from celiac disease.

In the medical community among non-professionals, there is an opinion that gluten can cause obesity, the onset of metabolic syndrome and an increase in the risk of cardiovascular diseases in healthy people. As a result, gluten-restricting diets have become popular.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 100,000 people suffering from coronary heart disease, and in 1989–2010 they regularly conducted a detailed survey.

The nutritional habits of health workers (64,714 women and 45,303 men) who participated in two similar studies of the relationship between diet and health were studied. It turned out that those who consumed more gluten often bought products with whole grains.

After adjusting the results to take account of concomitant factors, the researchers concluded that there is no link between gluten consumption and the risk of developing heart failure.