Medic: Gluten-free food can cause lasting damage to the heart

Medic: Gluten-free food can cause lasting damage to the heart

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Scientists are studying the relationship between heart disease and nutrition
A so-called gluten-free diet should actually lead to health benefits. However, researchers found that such a diet does not appear to be good for human heart health.

Scientists from Columbia University Medical Center in New York and Harvard Medical School in Boston found that a gluten-free diet can harm our hearts. The experts published the results of their study in the medical journal "BMJ".

Does a gluten-free diet harm the heart?
If people do not suffer from celiac disease (gluten intolerance), they should not eat a gluten-free diet, the experts say. While this type of diet is believed to lead to health benefits, scientists have now found that it is not beneficial to heart health.

There is a connection between a gluten-free diet and heart problems
In their analysis, the researchers also found that a gluten-free diet in people with celiac disease or a wheat allergy is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. There is a widespread notion that a gluten-free diet helps those affected, but apparently this does not apply to the human heart, the scientists say.

Those affected can reduce the risk again by changing their diet
About one percent of people in the United States have celiac disease. The excessive autoimmune response can damage the small intestine. Researchers have already found that people with celiac disease have an increased risk of heart disease. However, this risk can be reduced if those affected reduce their gluten-free diet, explains author Dr. Benjamin Lebwohl from Columbia University Medical Center based on the new study results.

Many people try to avoid consuming gluten
There is actually no evidence that people without celiac disease and similar diseases benefit from reducing gluten intake, the researchers claim. Even so, some people believe that eating gluten increases the risk of adverse health effects, including obesity and heart disease. Most people who followed a gluten-free diet suffered from celiac disease, the study authors explain. A 2013 national survey found that a third of people in the United States were trying to minimize or avoid gluten, the researchers added.

Doctors examine the data of more than 170,000 subjects
For the current study, the scientists examined the data from 121,700 female nurses. A group of 51,529 male subjects was also examined. In addition to the collected data on their health, participants regularly filled out so-called food questionnaires, the authors say.

How much gluten did the subjects eat?
Subjects were divided into five different groups based on the amount of gluten in their diet. The people who consumed the least amount of gluten during this period consumed about three grams of the protein daily, the doctors say. The people who consumed the highest amounts ingested about eight to ten grams a day.

Slightly more heart problems are found in people on a gluten-free diet
There were a total of 352 coronary artery-related events per 100,000 people per year. In contrast, the people with the highest consumption of gluten had only 277 incidents per 100,000 people a year, the scientists say.

Does whole grain protect against heart attacks?
When people avoid gluten, they usually eat little whole grain bread in their diet. Exactly that can lead to negative health effects, explains author Andrew Chan from Harvard Medical School in Boston. In particular, the risk of heart attacks seems to decrease when people eat more whole grains. Chan adds that for people who restrict their diet, this can lead to various deficiencies. These deficiency symptoms can then have a negative impact on the entire body, the study author continues. (as)

Author and source information

Video: Let Food Be Thy Medicine (May 2022).


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