Pass the Bread Basket: New Study Highlights Downside of Ditching Gluten 

If you're ditching gluten simply for weight loss, here's a potential downside you'll definitely want to take note of.

Giving up gluten has been getting a bad rap lately: First, there was the news that folks who adhered to gluten-free diets had way higher levels of toxic metals in their blood and urine, and now, a new study, published in the BMJ, finds that, if you don’t have celiac disease or a diagnosed gluten sensitivity, ditching gluten could actually backfire when it comes to your health.

As the Cut reports, the study looked at data from over 60,000 women and over 45,000 men, all with no history of heart disease. The study participants dished on what they ate in detailed food questionnaires, starting in 1986, filling them in every four years through 2010. In the end, the researchers found that those who restricted their gluten intake ended up also limiting their intake of whole grains as a side effect. And here’s the problem with that: whole grains are linked with cardiovascular health benefits, so not eating them could increase risk of heart problems.

The study’s findings were observational, meaning there’s no proven link between pushing away the bread basket and developing heart problems. But it’s worth noting, considering a big chunk of people have adopted gluten-free diets over the past few years, for reasons ranging from weight loss to fear of chronic inflammation. To wit: sales for gluten-free products have over doubled in the past few years. So if you happen to be one of those people avoiding gluten for weight-loss reasons, and you don’t plan on quitting your gluten-free diet, it wouldn’t hurt to be conscious of getting gluten-free whole grains (think: quinoa) onto your plate on the regular.

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