THOUGH A LOT of people these days crow about how they have to stick with a low-gluten or gluten-free diet, the actual amount of Americans who need to stay away from gluten is about 1 in 100. And they can’t eat it because they have celiac disease, an auto-immune disorder that causes inflammation in your small intestine, which keeps nutrient absorption low—leading to other diseases down the line like anemia and heart disease. (Gluten, to remind you, is a sticky protein in grains like wheat and barley that helps make bread chewy and delicious.)
A new study from Columbia University Medical Center explored what exactly—health-wise—a low-gluten diet would give someone without celiac disease, and if there were any negative effects since they are avoiding some key nutrients for heart health when eating gluten-free products. To find out, researchers pored over the diet and heart disease data from 100,000 people enrolled in the the Nurses Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study from 1986 to 2010.