A gluten-free diet is a priority for those suffering from Celiac disease. The Celiac Disease Foundation reports that Celiac disease affects an estimated 1-in-100 people globally. Yet the gluten-free diet habit is followed by an estimated 25% of Americans who report that the just feel better without the wheat. Gluten has been demonized, with 16% of Americans believing “gluten is bad for you,” though evidence for such a claim is scant.
Turns out that what might be even worse for someone not suffering from celiac disease is a gluten-free diet. A new study published in Epidemiology called “The Unintended Consequences of a Gluten-Free Diet” examined urine and blood samples of people on gluten-free diets and found higher levels of arsenic and mercury than was found in the blood of people on diets without gluten restrictions. The raised arsenic and mercury levels weren’t toxic and it’s unclear if they pose a long-term danger. Researchers believed that an increase in rice substitutes — a gluten-free diet staple — may be responsible for the raised levels.