Can a gluten-free diet promote the development of cancer?

Gluten-free nutrition is currently experiencing a real boom. It doesn’t matter whether you really have an intolerance or just think it’s unhealthy – more and more people are avoiding wheat, rye and other cereals containing gluten. Instead, they use bread, pasta, and flour made from corn, potatoes, or rice. And the problem lies in the latter. Because rice is often contaminated with arsenic. Recently, many varieties fell in the {window.dataLayer.push({event: ‘link_click’,link_type: ‘extern’,link_url: ‘’})})()”> ‘Öko-Test’ because of the high salary. In particular, whole grain rice, which is considered healthy, performed poorly. It does contain more vitamins, minerals and fiber than white rice. However, pollutants such as arsenic can accumulate in the surface layers.

And the scientists from the ‘University of Illinois at Chicago’ found this in the urine of their subjects who eat gluten-free. And twice as much as in the urine of those who eat gluten. In addition, the gluten avoiders had 70 percent more mercury in their blood. The heavy metal is also considered a health risk. Study leader Maria Argos from the University of Illinois was still cautious when interpreting the study data: “These results show that a gluten-free diet could have unwanted consequences.” But before one can finally say anything about the health risk, further investigations are necessary.

Incidentally, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) also warns against excessive consumption of rice because of the high arsenic levels. This not only applies to people who mainly or exclusively eat gluten-free, but also to those who really like rice dishes. In some countries, rice also makes up a larger proportion of the average diet than, for example, in the USA or Germany. According to, rice consumption in Germany was around 6.7 kilos per capita in the 2020/2021 crop year. In some Asian countries, per capita consumption is more than 20 times higher, depending on the source, for example in China, Cambodia, Laos or Bangladesh.

But you don’t have to do without rice entirely. If you have to or want to do without gluten, you should therefore make sure that you do not only use products made from rice flour when choosing substitute products. As a side dish, it is advisable to use peeled rice instead of whole grain rice. The BfR experts also advise washing the rice well before cooking and choosing the water method instead of the soaking method. With the water that is poured off after boiling, the arsenic content is also reduced somewhat. In general, a balanced mixed diet with natural ingredients is best for health. (aco/mzi)

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