10 Myths About Gluten

Gluten Causes Cancer
A gluten-free diet may actually increase the risk of cancer since whole grains are good sources of fiber and anti-oxidants that do protect against the disease. grafvision/iStock/Thinkstock

Some websites claim that gluten causes cancer, and therefore should be avoided by everyone. It is true that people with celiac disease who don't follow a gluten-free diet will increase their risk of developing several types of cancer, including intestinal lymphoma; small bowel cancer; and liver, esophageal and pharyngeal cancers [sources: Mayo Clinic, NCFA]. But again, remember, that's only 1 percent of Americans (or people in the world).

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, studies show that avoiding gluten doesn't provide any additional protection from cancer for people without celiac disease. In fact, as the organization notes, a gluten-free diet may actually increase the risk, since whole grains containing gluten are good sources of fiber and antioxidants that do protect against cancer.