Plenty of people will tell you that gluten isn't great for you. Just as many will tell you that gluten is their favorite food group. Wherever you stand on the gluten issue, this news is bound to raise a few eyebrows. According to new research reported by Hello Giggles, gluten might actually reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes.
Geng Zong, PhD, a research fellow at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, presented the findings at the latest meeting of the American Heart Association. While Dr. Zong and the team of researchers insist that there needs to be more work before they can come to any concrete conclusions, but they are hopeful.
"Our research shows that maybe gluten free is not so beneficial to your health, at least in terms of diabetes risk," says Dr. Zong.
Of course, people who are sensitive to gluten or suffer from celiac disease should definitely watch their gluten intake. But for others who choose to eliminate gluten from their diets for other reasons, the news may come as a shock. Researchers looked at over data from over 200,000 people who recorded their food intake.
After looking at data culled from nearly three decades, the team found that roughly 15,000 of the participants developed diabetes. Researchers found that people who ate less gluten generally ate less fiber, too. Those who ate the most gluten actually had a 13% lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Most of the participants consumed gluten through pastas, pretzels, pizza, muffins, and bread, though the researchers add that since the study started in the '80s, nobody was really eating "gluten-free" the way we know it today.
Dr. Zong adds that going gluten-free isn't necessarily the best choice for everyone. For one, food labeled as gluten-free can be lower in fiber and other necessary nutrients.
The new findings support research from the American College of Cardiology’s Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Council, which noted that the health claims from those going gluten-free were largely unsubstantiated.
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