Gluten-free diets are probably doing more harm than good to your body. Peter Green, the director of Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, explains the myth surrounding gluten-free diets. Following is a transcript of the video.
Peter Green: I’m Peter Green. I’m the director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University.
It’s a very important diet for people who have celiac disease. Going on a gluten-free diet, if you have celiac disease, saves your life. And there’s very little scientific evidence to support the benefit of a gluten-free diet in anything except celiac disease.
We actually think that a gluten-free diet is not a very healthy diet, and that’s for a whole bunch of reasons. On a gluten-free diet, individuals have to avoid wheat, rye, and barley, and anything that’s derived from them.
All the non-gluten-containing grains are not fortified, whereas wheat flour is fortified with folic acid, B vitamins, and iron. So, it’s not unusual for someone on a gluten-free diet to be folate-deficient or iron-deficient. Another important factor with people on a gluten-free diet is they often don’t eat whole grains.
And what we’ve recently been made aware of is that people on a gluten-free diet have increased levels of heavy metals — arsenic, lead, and mercury. And we think that’s due to the large amount of rice that’s eaten on a gluten-free diet because rice appears to absorb these heavy metals from the ground at a greater rate than say, other grains.
We would suggest that any individual on a gluten-free diet should be under the guidance of an experienced dietitian because there are these factors in a gluten-free diet that we think are not very healthy. And individuals typically who are on a gluten-free diet eat the same stuff all the time because they identify it as being safe.