February 18


Is Gluten-Free Diet Really Good for Everyone?

By Gabriela

February 18, 2022

According to most doctors and dietitians, the key to being healthy is maintaining a varied diet. And they are the ones that we listen to because they are qualified experts.

According to a recent study, we might increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by simply adopting a low-gluten or gluten-free diet.

Study of Harvard University

Harvard University made a study that was presented in Portland at the meeting of the American Heart Association.

The researchers made a review of 30 years of medical data in which there were around 200,000 participants included.

They came to the discovery that the participants who limited their intake of gluten or who completely avoided it had a 13 % higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Geng Zong of the School of Public Health of Harvard explained what they wanted to find out.

And that was whether the consumption of gluten would have an effect on the health of people who had no medical reasons to stay away from gluten.

The foods that are gluten-free usually have fewer micro-nutrients and dietary fiber, which means that they are less nutritious. Furthermore, they cost more when compared to other foods.

What Is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein that is found in barley, wheat, rye, and other grains. Gluten is the protein that provides baked goods with elasticity and gives them a chewy texture of baked goods.

People who are gluten intolerant have autoimmune conditions i.e. celiac disease. What happens is that their immune system responds to the gluten and it attacks the small intestine.

Also, according to statistics, only 1% of the population has this diagnosis as celiac.

Data In The Study

In this study, the researchers used data that was from the Nurses Health Study. Where every 2 to 4 years around 199.794 people answered questions about food.

They came to the discovery that on average the participants consumed from 6 to 7 grams of gluten on a daily basis.

Over the follow-up period that lasted around 30 years, there were around 15, 942 cases that obtained the chronic disease.

According to the study, the participants who had higher gluten intake, around 12 grams on a daily basis were actually less likely to develop the disease.

Furthermore, those who consumed less gluten, in addition, had a lower intake of cereal fiber.

Proper Diagnosis

It is known that fiber can protect against developing type 2 diabetes.

When they adjusted for fiber and its protective effect, they found out that those in the first 20 % of gluten consumption actually had a 13% less chance of developing the chronic condition. Compared to the others that actually consumed around four grams or less.

Dr. Geng Zong noted that people who do not have celiac disease could limit their intake of gluten for the prevention of chronic diseases, particularly diabetes.

Even though there is no evidence that maintaining a diet that is gluten-free has any benefit regarding health, people still follow the ongoing trend of gluten-free food.

Note: If someone believes that they have a gluten intolerance, they need to consult their dietitian or doctor and take tests immediately.

Bear in mind that for undiagnosed celiacs it can be potentially harmful to make a self-diagnosis of gluten sensitivity. And remove gluten from the usual diet.

The only way to find out if someone is gluten intolerant is by doing tests. However, bear in mind that the doctor won’t be able to make them if the person has completely removed gluten from their diet.

In addition, without an actual proper diagnosis, undiagnosed celiacs are actually less likely to stick to the diet they need to maintain.

Also with that, they can increase the risk of developing certain diseases and may cause damage to the gut.

Source IFL Science | Medical News Today | New Scientist | The Guardian


  • Gabriela

    Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Health Page, Fitness trainer and instructor has dedicated her career to educating and informing people for over 10 years. As one of the most passionate diabetes advocates, Gabi has worked tirelessly to ensure that those people receive the education and support they need to properly manage their diabetes and achieve their health, fitness and weight loss goals.

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