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Scientists have discovered that those going gluten-free have double the amount of arsenic in their body due to the wide use of rice
Gluten-free diets have taken off rapidly in the past few years.

But new research suggests those choosing to follow the trend are exposed to high levels of two toxic metals.

Those going gluten-free have double the amount of arsenic - a known cause of cancer - in their body, scientists found.

While traces of mercury - another deadly chemical - are almost 70 per cent greater, expert claim.

There may be no need for anyone that isn't suffering from celiac disease to choose such products, researchers warn.

Sufferers of the agonising digestive disorder often restrict themselves from eating the protein as it can make them severely ill.

However, it is believed that around 13 per cent of the UK population have started to avoid the protein by choosing such products instead. And the figure is even higher in the US, with a quarter saying they had consumed such foods in 2015 - a 67 per cent increase in two years.

Gluten-free versions of bread, spaghetti and cereals often contain rice flour as a substitute for wheat.

But rice is known to contain up to ten times more arsenic than other foods due to the way it was grown.

Generally, brown rice has higher levels because the arsenic is found in the outer coating or bran, which is removed in the milling process to produce white rice.
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Rice is known to contain up to ten times more arsenic - which can cause cancer in frequent exposure - than other foods due to the way it was grown

Industrial contaminants and pesticides used to grow the food in the past can remain in the polluted paddy fields for decades - meaning the rice in supermarket shelves often contains higher levels.

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago assessed the urine of 73 participants from a previous nutrition survey they conducted.

They ranged from between six and 80 years old and had all reported eating gluten-free food over a period of five years.

However, those who consumed the most had higher concentrations of arsenic in their urine, they found.

Their levels of the toxic metals were almost twice as high, according to the study published in the journal Epidemiology.

While traces of mercury was almost 70 per cent greater in those restricted to a gluten-free diet.

Study author Dr Maria Argos said: 'These results indicate that there could be unintended consequences of eating a gluten-free diet.'

However, she added that further research is needed to determine the health effects of consuming both metals.