Going Gluten Free May Raise Type 2 Diabetes Risk

If you’re allergic to gluten or have Celiac disease, avoiding gluten is important. But what about people who want to go gluten-free for other reasons? It’s no secret that many people avoid foods like cereal, breads, and pastas that contain gluten, even though they may not have a gluten sensitivity.

Is going gluten-free when you don’t have to a smart idea? Maybe not, according to new research presented by the American Heart Association at a recent conference. In a large study, researchers followed thousands of people who did not have an allergy to gluten for about 10 years. They tracked their eating habits and monitored groups that regularly ate foods with gluten and groups that ate little to no gluten.

And what they found might surprise you. Eating little to no gluten raises the risk for type 2 diabetes. The people who ate the most foods containing gluten were 13 percent less likely to develop diabetes than the people who were gluten-free.

Here’s why researchers think going gluten-free when you don’t have to might not be such a good idea.

“Gluten-free foods often have less dietary fiber and other micronutrients, making them less nutritious and they also tend to cost more,” says lead researcher Dr. Geng Zong. “People without Celiac disease may reconsider limiting their gluten intake for chronic disease prevention, especially for diabetes.”

Obviously, if you have a gluten allergy or Celiac disease. Avoid gluten. Even a little gluten can damage the small intestine, prevent your body from absorbing needed nutrients from food, and cause serious gastrointestinal issues.

But if you don’t have a gluten allergy, maybe it’s time to give foods that contain gluten made from barley, wheat, and rye, a little more room in your diet. You’ll find lots of Gluten-Free options to choose from on our menu, and even more non-gluten-free choices on our main menu.