Study Finds Link Between Gluten-Free Diet And Type 2 Diabetes Risk

contrary to popular belief, gluten is not actually the devil. Teri Virbickis/Shutterstock 

Most dietitians and doctors will tell you, a varied diet is key to being healthy. And seeing as they are actual qualified experts and not Instagram or blog-based advocates, you should be listening to them and not the latter. A new study has found that adopting a gluten-free or low-gluten diet can enhance your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The major study from Harvard University, which was presented yesterday at a meeting of the American Heart Association in Portland, reviewed 30 years’ worth of medical data from 200,000 participants, and found that those who limited their gluten intake or avoided it completely actually had a 13 percent higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes.  

"We wanted to determine if gluten consumption will affect health in people with no apparent medical reasons to avoid gluten,” explained Dr Geng Zong of Harvard’s School of Public Health. “Gluten-free foods often have less dietary fiber and other micronutrients, making them less nutritious and they also tend to cost more."

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and other related grains. It is the protein that gives baked goods that chewy texture and elasticity in the baking process. Those who are genuinely intolerant have an autoimmune condition known as celiac disease, where their immune system responds to the gluten protein by attacking the small intestine. Only about 1 percent of the population is diagnosed as celiacs.

In the study, researchers used data from the Nurses Health Study, where 199,794 people answered food-related questions every two to four years. They found participants consumed on average around 6-7 grams of gluten a day. Over the 30-year follow-up period, 15,942 cases of type 2 diabetes were diagnosed.

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Image bank gluten-free images are really weird. Pixelbliss/Shutterstock

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