Gluten-Free Diet Linked To Higher Risk Of Diabetes

Posted: Mar 12 2017, 9:03am CDT | by , Updated: Mar 12 2017, 9:08am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 

Gluten-Free Diet Linked to Higher Risk of Diabetes
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People who ate least amount of gluten had a somewhat higher risk of developing diabetes over time, study says

Popular gluten free diet may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, Harvard scientists suggest.

Gluten free diets are very helpful for the sufferers of celiac disease – a condition in which human body cannot digest gluten properly. But surprisingly, many more people are opting for this trendy diet despite having no signs of the disease. Above all, there is no evidence to suggest that reducing gluten consumption has any significant effects on health.

The ever increasing popularity of gluten free diet has led researchers to investigate whether absence of wheat, barley and rye in daily diet can have negative consequences on human body. 

“We wanted to determine if gluten consumption will affect health in people with no apparent medical reasons to avoid gluten," said Geng Zong from Harvard University’s Department of Nutrition. "Gluten-free foods often have less dietary fiber and other micronutrients, making them less nutritious and they also tend to cost more. People without Celiac disease may reconsider limiting their gluten intake for chronic disease prevention, especially for diabetes.”

In the study, researchers looked at data from three long term surveys in which participants had to report about their diet every two to four years. The study involved more than 200,000 participants and these participants were followed up from 1984 to 2013. 

Over the 30 years study period, around 15,000 cases of type 2 diabetes were confirmed and most of them were those who consumed less gluten. On average, participants ate less than 12 grams of gluten per day.  Researchers found that people who consumed highest daily amount of gluten had a 13 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those who consumed the least amount of gluten. The results remain consistent despite taking into account other risk factors like physical activity, weight and family history of diabetes.

However, the study has some limitations which have to be pointed out. The daily consumption of gluten in the surveys is self reported. So, the study is observational and the conclusions are not definitive by any means. 

The study does not prove that gluten-free diet directly causes diabetes, but it certainly offers a link between low gluten diet and the disease. 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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