However, University of IL researchers report this trending eating regime may have a hidden danger - toxic metals.
Gluten-free products like rice flour which is used as a substitute for wheat tends to bioaccumulate certain deadly metals such as mercury and arsenic from fertilizers, water, or soil. These foods may present higher levels of toxic metals which may jeopardize people's state of health.
Gluten-free diets started to become very popular, but people are not aware of the fact that they may contain toxic metals like arsenic and mercury. "But until we perform the studies to determine if there are corresponding health consequences that could be related to higher levels of exposure to arsenic and mercury by eating gluten-free". The work is proceeding slowly - of the hundreds of proteins that make up wheat gluten, only a few have the reactive properties that lead to celiac disease.
The common name for proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye is gluten, which acts like a glue that helps the plant hold its shape.
Close to 1% of the USA population has celiac disease, and many Americans with gluten intolerances or wheat allergies also benefit from gluten-free diets. Today, many people in the USA are on gluten-free diets despite the fact they are not diagnosed with celiac disease.
And traces of mercury were nearly 70 per cent greater in those restricted to a gluten-free diet.
Researchers found 73 participants who reported eating gluten-free had higher concentrations of arsenic in their urine and mercury in their blood than those who did not. Symptoms of the disorder include abdominal pain, ulcers, and anemia.
Gluten-free consumers avoid eating foods like pasta, bread, and pizza. Some say they prefer to eat such food because this reduces inflammation, which is not yet proved. They noticed 73 individuals who consume a gluten-free diet from 7,500 participants who completed the survey.
"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.
Many individuals jump into the gluten-free lifestyle bandwagon with the idea that consuming food stripped of gluten is healthier.
This reaction to gluten damages consumers' villi - small, hairlike projections in the wall of the intestine. Previous studies have also linked the same toxic metals to rice.
A new study from the journal Epidemiology found that following a gluten-free diet that relies on rice-based products could put a person at greater risk for having higher levels of arsenic and mercury in their system.