High Levels of Arsenic and Mercury Discovered in Gluten-Free Americans

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The weighted geometric mean concentration of estimated urinary total arsenic, defined as total arsenic minus arsenobetaine and arsenocholine, was almost two-fold higher for those on a gluten-free diet (geometric mean ratio, 1.9), after adjustment for sociodemographic characteristics and urinary creatinine.

And the figure is even higher in the United States, with a quarter saying they had consumed such foods in 2015 - a 67 per cent increase in two years.

In order to compensate, gluten-free products oftentimes contain rice flour as a substitute for barley, rye, and wheat. Such a diet replaces wheat, rye, and barley with rice flour. The arsenic and mercury get into the rice via fertilizers, soil and water, and other studies have previously linked the toxic metals to rice. This ingredient is used for most of the gluten free products available on the market. The study authors believe that people who consume gluten-free diets on a daily basis won't experience any benefits because they haven't been clinically proven. The toxic metals that are found in gluten-free food can increase the risk of heart disease, neurological problems, and cancer.

Researchers from the University of IL at Chicago assessed the urine of 73 participants from a previous nutrition survey they conducted. Arsenic levels were almost twice as high and mercury levels were up to 70% higher in those who went without gluten. Specifically, the gluten-free people had two times as much arsenic and 70 percent higher mercury levels than the gluten eaters.

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While Europe has regulations that monitor the level of arsenic in its food, the study points out that the United States has no such restrictions in place.

While traces of mercury was nearly 70 per cent greater in those restricted to a gluten-free diet.

"If you don't have celiac disease, then these diets are not going to help you", Dr. Peter HR Green, the director of the celiac disease center at the Columbia University's medical school, told the New Yorker. Try also to eat more naturally gluten-free food like fruits, veggies, lean meats, cheese, yogurt, and nuts and seeds. Foods such as bread, pizza, and pasta, which contain the gluten protein, have gotten a bad rap. Poor ol' gluten has been blamed for everything from bloating and depression to gas, acne, and brain fog. And of course, that's fine; whatever anyone eats is their own business, whether they've received a diagnosis that makes eating gluten free a necessity or whether they simply choose to forgo gluten because they feel better doing so.

A new study performed by scientists at the University of IL at Chicago (UIC) found that, as much as people might hail the benefits of gluten free foods, they could be unsafe too.