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The one limitation of the study is that it couldn’t account for non-celiacs with a very low-gluten or gluten-free diet.
The results revealed those in the high intake group had similar rates of heart disease than people in the low intake group, concluding that those who avoid eating gluten by choice and not due to a condition like celiac disease aren't actually helping their cardiovascular systems.
In fact, researchers said, gluten-free diets may end up causing harm.
This is because people with restricted gluten intake often eat a diet high in refined grains, but low in fiber-rich whole grains, which are tied to lower heart risk.
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"We can't say with certainty that this is a cause-and-effect association," study investigator Andrew Chan told HealthDay. But, he said, "For the vast majority of people who can tolerate it, restricting gluten to improve your overall health is likely not to be a beneficial strategy," and based on the data, consuming a low-gluten diet specifically for heart health doesn't appear warranted, either, he said.
Another study researcher, Peter H.R. Green, said anytime someone eliminates entire categories of food they’ve been used to eating, there’s a risk of nutritional deficiencies.
"Unless people are very careful, a gluten-free diet can lack vitamins, minerals and fiber,” he said.
Read the full study here.