(Newswire.net— January 10, 2018) –Since gluten-free food appeared on supermarket shelves people with coeliac disease rejoiced. Following suit, consumers who are health conscious switched to gluten-free products considering them to be much healthier.
A new study, however, shows that gluten free food is not as healthy as we thought.
Coeliac disease is a nasty medical condition whereby the ingestion of gluten creates an intestinal reaction that prevents nutrients from being absorbed. This results in severe abdominal pain including bloating, diarrhea and nausea, so the gluten-free products are indeed healthier for those suffering from coeliac disease.
Giving up regular carbs for gluten-free foods, however, may not be as healthy as it seems, according to a new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics. The author of the study, Norelle Rizkalla Reilly of Columbia University’s Medical Center, points out that “Gluten-free packaged foods frequently contain a greater density of fat and sugar than their gluten-containing counterparts.”
“A GFD [gluten free diet] also may lead to deficiencies in B vitamins, folate, and iron, given a lack of nutrient fortification of many gluten-free products,” Reilly said in the study that refers to a 2015 survey of 1,500 US adults without coeliac disease that switched to a gluten-free lifestyle.
Dr Suzanne Mahady, a senior lecturer at Monash University, Australia, aligns with researchers who claim that people believing that a gluten free diet is healthier are in fact mistaken. As the study has shown that gluten-free products contain some harmful chemicals Dr Mahady said there is no scientific evidence that a gluten-free diet is actually healthier when compared to regular products containing gluten. Making assumptions based on gluten intolerant consumers is wrong, she said.
“It’s even possible the opposite is true, and the avoidance of dietary whole grains resulting in a low fiber intake may be detrimental,” Dr Mahady said.
The research, carried out by a team of 13 scientists from institutions including Harvard and Columbia University in New York, agree that “the avoidance of gluten may result in reduced consumption of beneficial whole grains, which may affect cardiovascular risk.”
“The promotion of gluten-free diets among people without celiac disease should not be encouraged,” scientists conclude.