As well all know, a varied diet is the key to good health. However, with the burgeoning of trending diets like paleo and gluten-free, it can be hard to know which is good for you.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and other related grains, and those who are genuinely intolerant have an autoimmune condition known as celiac disease (it affects only about 1% of the population). Most people don’t really know if they’re allergic to gluten (here are the signs).
A new study from Harvard University has found that adopting a gluten-free or low-gluten diet can enhance your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The study 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% higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
The study found that those who had a higher intake of gluten – up to 12 grams a day – were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, compared to those who consumed 4 grams or less. This is because they had a higher proportion of cereal fibre intake – fibre is known to protect against type 2 diabetes (as well as decreases your risk of stroke, heart disease, and obesity).
However, it’s not saying that eating less gluten causes an increased risk of diabetes. It’s that eating less gluten is associated with an increased risk, because foods that are low in gluten also tend to be low in fibre. In addition, processed gluten-free flours also lack iron, folate, vitamin B12, calcium, and other essential vitamins, and minerals.
So, if you’re thinking of a gluten-free diet (or are already on one), you should add high fibre, nutritious grains to compensate for the lack of fibre and vitamins. Eat more bananas, onions, and garlic to get those bacteria-promoting carbohydrates.