Hi dear celiac,

Today I want to discuss about this recently published paper on BMJ, a really strong, high quality paper (impact factor 19).

Paper: Long term gluten consumption in adults without celiac disease and risk of coronary heart disease: prospective cohort study

Researchers from USA examined the association of long term intake of gluten with the development of incident coronary heart disease.

As a celiac and PhD student in immunology when I read the title of this paper I started to think about the possible results that they got without reading the hole paper first. Well… gluten containing food normally have high percentage of fibers and nutrients (naturally or added by the industry) compared to industrial gluten-free foods. Only with this simple concept in mind we can predict that people on a gluten-free diet have a higher chance of eating less fiber then those who not, consequently have more healthy problems.

Indeed my thoughts were not that far from what they concluded in the paper: “Long term dietary intake of gluten was not associated with risk of coronary heart disease. However, 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.”

It is widely know the importance of fiber in the diet and its fermentation , specially because it can potentially modulate the intestinal microbiota (won’t talk about probiotics here… maybe in other post!).  Dietary fiber is important to prevent type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovasular disease, colon cancer, reduce risk of hypelipidemia, hypercholesterolemia and hyperglycemia (see Kaczmarczyk et.al and Dahl et.al. for more details).

I noticed that after being diagnosed as celiac, the processed food that I eat basically have rice flour, potato flour, corn flour and tapioca flour in its composition (ONLY CARBS = increase blood sugar). Click here for more a short blog discussion about how bad gluten-free foods can be.

When I bake something fancy I always try to add some seeds (like flax seed, chia seed, quinoa, amaranth, etc) to increase my fiber intake. As vegetarian, I also intake a lot of fruits and veggies. I also do believe grains are not monsters in our diet, they need to be eaten in moderation. At the paper discussion they also shown examples of how beneficial whole grain intake is.

Summary: If you are not celiac, gluten intolerant or do not have sensitivity to gluten, DO NOT go gluten-free. If you do because you need or want just keep up eating healthy! No secrets: fiber from different sources, healthy food always and avoiding processed food as much as possible (this is hardest part…..)