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Question:
I recently read that a gluten-free diet may increase your exposure to arsenic and mercury. Is this true?

Answer:
It is true that a study found that people who reported to be on gluten-free diets had levels of arsenic in their urine which averaged about 50% to 90% more than found in people not eating gluten-free diets. The study also found 70% more mercury in the blood of gluten-free eaters. 

The researchers speculated that rice may be contributing to the higher concentrations of arsenic in gluten-free eaters because it is the primary substitute grain in gluten-free products. It is true that certain rice products are known to contain higher amounts of arsenic, particularly brown rice.

However, a careful review of this study by ConsumerLab.com indicates that the amounts of arsenic and mercury found do not pose a health risk and, furthermore, the primary source of these compounds is quite possibly not gluten-free foods. See the full answer for the details >> 

(If you are on a gluten-free diet, be aware that oats are naturally gluten-free, but that some oat cereals contain significant amounts of gluten due to cross-contamination during processing. See ConsumerLab.com's Oat Cereals Review for results by product -- none of which, by the way, were found to be contaminated with heavy metals such as arsenic.)

Also see ConsumerLab.com's answers to these questions:

I've heard that rice has high levels of arsenic. Does that mean rice bran oil does too? >>

How can I find supplements that are gluten-free on ConsumerLab.com? >>


See other recent and popular questions >>
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