Gluten is a compound formed from a variety of proteins which can be found in wheat and other such grains like rye, oat, barley, and others. It is very appreciated in the manufacturing process as it can give the perfect elasticity to dough that ends up having a pleasant, chewy texture. The gluten-free diet has a controversial background. While this was used for people with different gluten-related health issues such as celiac disease, wheat allergy or gluten ataxia, it is also promoted by the mainstream as a healthy lifestyle. A new study found that eating habits that are based on gluten-free products are more harmful than the others. They are thought to contain large quantities of toxic metals.
The journal Epidemiology has just published a new study regarding the gluten-free diets. Scientists found that those who are following these nutritious habits are actually exposed to large quantities of toxic metals such as mercury and arsenic. These two are known for their link to many health problems like neurological conditions, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
As the demand for gluten-free products has increased, producers needed to find alternative ingredients to use in their recipes. As a consequence, many of them have replaced gluten with rice flour. This is where the problem originates. Usually, rice is exposed to several toxic metals that come from soil, water, and fertilizers. These are arsenic and mercury. One of the main properties of rice is that it bioaccumulate such toxins. This means that this plant is the perfect place for them to become stronger and therefore more harmful.
Maria Argos was one of the authors of the paper. Together with her colleagues, she taped into the collected data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Based on these facts, she worked to find a connection between gluten-free diets and toxic metals. She searches for traces of the biomarkers in blood and urine. Out of 7,500 participants in this national survey, the team of scientists found 73 persons who are eating a gluten-free diet.
The findings of this research say that this group of 73 participants showed a higher level of arsenic and mercury in their system than the others who are not avoiding this compound. In fact, a normal diet had 70% less toxic metals than the others. On the other hand, there is a need for a more in-depth research to determine if this side effect is that harmful or not.
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