Gluten may lower risk of Type 2 diabetes

We've been told we'll all feel healthier and look slimmer if we go gluten-free, and so many people with no real intolerance at all have shunned gluten, which is found in various grains including wheat, rye, barley and spelt.

Researchers at Harvard University set out to determine what health effects avoiding gluten had on those people with no specific medical reason to avoid the substance.

The study suggests that ingesting only small amounts of Gluten, or avoiding it altogether, increases the risk of diabetes by as much as 13 per cent.

With more and more celebrities swearing by it, people get inspired to raid supermarket aisles for expensive gluten-free alternatives. "People without celiac disease may reconsider limiting their gluten intake for chronic disease prevention, especially for diabetes", Harvard researcher Dr. Geng Zong, the study's lead author, explained. According to researchers, people with the highest intake of gluten had a 13 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those whose diet contained little or no gluten.

Researchers at the American Heart Association meeting presented new data, analyzing the diets of almost 200,000 people.

Despite a lack of evidence that reducing consumption of gluten provides long-term health benefits, gluten-free diets have been gaining popularity.

In the observational study commencing in 1984, researchers estimated the daily gluten intake for nearly 200,000 participants through food questionnaires completed every two to four years. Most people consumed no more than 12 g of gluten each day, with the average being 6 to 7 g.

Over the course of the stud, 15,947 cases of type 2 diabetes were confirmed.

"Gluten-free foods often have less dietary fiber and other micronutrients [such as vitamins and minerals], making them less nutritious and they also tend to cost more". Market analyst Mintel claims that in 2015, 12 per cent of new food products launched in the United Kingdom carried a gluten-free claim, up from 7 per cent in 2011. And that could be contributing to your diabetes risk.

TRENDY gluten-free diets loved by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Victoria Beckham, Miley Cyrus and Russell Crowe may increase the risk of developing diabetes, experts have warned.

Those who have a sensitivity to the protein are often diagnosed with celiac disease.

The researchers added several caveats to their findings, noting that this was an observational study where participants were reporting their food habits themselves, and there was no data from completely gluten-free diets available as the information was gathered before those food trends became widespread.

"It's important to remember that going gluten free is only necessary if you have coeliacs disease, otherwise you may simply be unnecessarily restricting yourself", she said.

  • Lila Blake