A new report by Harvard University’s Department of Nutrition suggests a diet low in gluten may increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The study looked at the diets of almost 200,000 participants over a thirty-year period, out of which nearly 16,000 cases of diabetes were confirmed.
The research indicates that there are significant drawbacks for people who eat considerably less gluten or a gluten free diet. A gluten free diet can lead to lower intakes of wholegrain carbohydrate foods which are rich in fibre, known to be protective against type 2 diabetes and heart disease. With a lack of wholegrain foods, going gluten-free is usually not a healthy balanced diet and not recommended unless you have a gluten intolerance or diagnosed gluten sensitivity.
It is important to note that gluten free diets are extremely important for people who are gluten intolerant or have coeliac disease as they are very sensitive to the protein found in gluten. The gluten causes a reaction and can destroy integral structures of the gut leading to nutrient deficiencies. Having a vast supply of gluten free products available at the supermarket is important for people living with coeliac disease or gluten intolerance, however gluten free products and the associated diet are not suitable or necessary for the general population.
People living with diabetes also need to be conscious that gluten free products tend to be low in fibre, have a higher glycaemic index and can contain double the amount of carbohydrate as the regular gluten product.
For more information speak to a Diabetes NSW & ACT Dietitian on 1300 342 238