While people suffering from Celiac’s disease have no choice but to eliminate gluten from their diets, people not afflicted with the disorder, but who opt to eliminate gluten from their diets may actually be putting themselves at higher risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.
The revelation is the result of a cumulative study involving 200,000 participants over a 30-year period beginning in the 1980’s. According to findings presented in a news release by Dr.Geng Zong, a research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, this is because “Gluten-free foods often have less dietary fiber and other micronutrients, making them less nutritious and they also tend to cost more.
The studies involved data regarding the dietary and lifestyle habits (including weight, exercise regimens, and family history) of health professionals throughout the US, as provided every 2-4 years during the past 3-decades.
In the end it was concluded that participants who ate nearly 12 grams of gluten daily were 13% less likely than to develop Type 2 diabetes than those who went gluten-free or ingested less than 4 grams per day, However Zong was quick to note information regarding how much gluten fluctuated depending on how often participants ate foods such as pasta, bread, cakes, and cereal, etc. Zong also noted that out of the 200,000 participants, only 16,000 became diabetic during the course of the study.
Gluten is a complex mixture of proteins found in grains such as wheat, oats, rye, barley and spelled, and what gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and maintain its shape. It is also a prime ingredient in imitation meats meant to mimic beef, chicken, pork and even duck and fish.
What many people may not realize, however, is that gluten is often found in ice cream, catsup, beer and soy sauce, not to mention animal feeds and cosmetics such as skin and hair conditioners to name a few.
While these are perfectly safe for most people, they can prove deadly for approximately 1%–2% of the general population suffering from Celiac’s, a chronic condition in which the body cannot absorb the grains mentioned above.
Although often thought of as a gastrointestinal disease, Celiac’s can affect other organs as well. It is also is often associated with other autoimmune diseases, such as diabetes mellitus type 1, thyroiditis, gluten ataxia, psoriasis, vitiligo, autoimmune hepatitis, dermatitis herpetiformis, and primary sclerosing cholangitis, to name a few. If left untreated it can also lead to iron deficiency and osteoporosis.
In the meantime, there is no absolute proof that going gluten-free has any health benefits. Yet the practice has gained traction as a way to lose weight among the American populous over the past 30-years, with health officials reporting a three-fold increase between 2009-2014 in the number of people who now claim to follow the dietary practice made popular by celebrities such as Mylie Cyrus and Gweneth Paltrow.