Celiac.com 12/12/2017 - Does a gluten-free diet have any effect on cardiovascular risk in people with celiac disease? Does it effect people without celiac disease? So far, both questions have remained unanswered.
The team focused their review on the "potential of the gluten-free diet to affect modifiable cardiovascular risk factors including weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugars," and to do this they searched for "studies which measured these risk factors in individuals before and after the institution of a gluten-free diet." In all, Potter and colleagues reviewed 27 studies that evaluated the effect of a gluten-free diet, as followed for a minimum of 6 months, on cardiovascular risk factors such as BMI, waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting glycemia, hemoglobin A1c and serum lipids.
Despite their efforts, they found no clear evidence that a gluten-free diet increases cardiovascular risk in celiac patients. They found no evidence that it increases heart disease risk in people without celiac disease. They really found nothing much at all.
While the results varied across studies, and researchers did see changes in some cardiovascular risk factors, they say the data do not support a gluten-free diet for cardiovascular health in individuals without celiac disease. True, perhaps.
But it's also true that the data neither support nor condemn a gluten-free diet in people without celiac disease.
Unless and until researchers get some solid data from large groups and can make accurate, informative comparisons between those groups, it seems foolish for them to advocate or discourage a gluten-free diet in people without celiac disease.