The Unintended Consequences of a Gluten-free Diet

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Gluten-free diets have become immensely popular in the United States. Despite <1% of Americans having diagnosed celiac disease, an estimated 25% of American consumers reported consuming gluten-free food in 2015, a 67% increase from 2013.1,2 Gluten is a protein found in a variety of grains including wheat, rye, and barley and their flours. Commercial gluten-free products primarily contain rice flour as a substitute.3 Emerging evidence suggests rice-based products can contain high levels of toxic metals; rice is a recognized source of arsenic and methylmercury exposure.4,5 Despite such a dramatic shift in the diet of many Americans, little is known about how gluten-free diets might affect exposure to toxic metals found in certain foods.
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