Who Should Really Go Gluten-Free

Gluten-free diet didn't help heart health in those without celiac disease

(RxWiki News) Going gluten-free may not be healthy for everyone.

In fact, it may only benefit those with celiac disease, according to a new study.

This new study found that, in people without celiac disease, gluten-free diets were not tied to a lower risk of heart disease. And these diets might even keep some people from eating enough whole grains, which have been tied to better heart health.

In people with celiac disease, eating foods that contain gluten — such as wheat and rye — can trigger intestinal damage and inflammation. For these patients, gluten may even raise the risk of heart disease over time.

But for people without celiac disease, gluten didn't appear to have these negative effects, this new study found. The authors of this study looked at more than 110,000 health professionals in the United States over a 26-year period.

These researchers didn't find heart health benefits of the gluten-free diet in people without celiac disease. But they did find that some people didn't get enough whole grains, which often contain gluten.

Some people may falsely believe that gluten has negative health effects for all people instead of just those with celiac disease, the authors of this study noted. These researchers wrote in their study that "promotion of gluten-free diets for the purpose of coronary heart disease prevention among asymptomatic people without celiac disease should not be recommended."

This study was published in the journal The BMJ.

Information on study funding sources and potential conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.

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Review Date: 
May 22, 2017