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Avoid This Diet! The #1 “Health” Diet That RAISES Your Heart Disease Risk (For Everyone)

By on June 8, 2017
Eat a gluten-free diet? Watch out, say Columbia University researchers: It could raise your heart disease risk.

The research, which appears in the British Medical Journal, alleges that people who ate the least amount of gluten in their diets faced a 15 percent higher risk of heart disease. And the reason why? People on low-gluten diets don’t consume whole grains, a food that protects against the disease.

Benjamin Lebwohl, M.D., M.S., who authored the research, now says that people who do not have celiac disease should think twice before following this diet.

“Gluten is clearly harmful for people with celiac disease,” says Lebwohl, an assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center. “But popular diet books, based on anecdotal and circumstantial evidence, have pushed the notion that a low-gluten diet is healthy for everyone. Our findings show that gluten restriction has no benefit, at least in terms of heart health, for people without celiac disease.”

While avoiding gluten is necessary for people who have celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that can lead to anemia and osteoporosis, in recent years it has become a national health trend. Celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham have both famously followed the diet, espousing its innumerable health benefits.

Scientists, however, have criticized this trend, claiming that following a gluten free diet is unnecessary.

The Research

In the study authored by Lebwohl, they wanted to see if it could also be potentially dangerous.

Drawing data from the Nurses Health Study and the Health Professional Follow-Up Study, researchers examined more than 100,000 adults who submitted food questionnaires starting in 1986. Every 4 years, up until 2010, they submitted an updated food questionnaire. None of the participants had celiac disease.

Ranking these individuals based on how much gluten their diets contained, they found that people with the highest gluten intake didn’t face a higher heart disease or heart attack risk. However, those who consumed the lowest levels of gluten were 15 percent more likely to have heart disease. These people often ate more refined grains than whole grains, which explains this risk, say researchers.

“It appeared that those individuals who consumed the lowest levels of dietary gluten had a 15 percent higher risk of heart disease,” says Dr. Andrew Chan, who led the study. “For the vast majority of people who can tolerate it, restricting gluten to improve your overall health is likely not to be a beneficial strategy.”

So what does this mean for consumers? Simple: If you don’t have celiac disease, don’t restrict your dietary gluten intake. Research rarely shows it has any benefits; oftentimes, its effects are harmful.

What This Means For You

If you want to improve your diet, don’t fall for fads such as the gluten-free diet. While it is celebrity endorsed, research shows it’s more likely to do more harm than good. Your best bet? Focus on eating a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins instead, something which research unequivocally shows is the best diet strategy.

Readers: What about you? Have you tried going gluten-free before?

Sources:
Dietary Gluten is Not Linked to Heart Risk in Non-CeliacsScienceDaily.com
What a Gluten-Free Diet May Mean For Your HeartCBSNews.com

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