A High Gluten Diet During Pregnancy May be Connected to An Increased Risk of Diabetes for Offspring

Gluten is known to cause inflammation, and many doctors feel that the ingestion of gluten may contribute to the loss of integrity of the intestinal protective lining. This loss of integrity can lead to many serious illnesses, like irritable bowl disease, chronic inflammation, and autoimmune disease. Despite this, the decision on whether or not to eat gluten is still a hotly debated topic with doctors and experts alike lined up on both sides of the debate.

Now, a new study finds that effects of eating gluten maybe more damaging and far reaching then we ever imagined. Researchers were interested in knowing if there could be a connection between what pregnant women eat, specifically gluten, and the likely hood of their subsequent offspring developing type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce insulin, a necessary hormone used by the body to breakdown carbohydrates.

The study, published in the BMJ, on September 19, 2018, was based on data from the Danish National Birth Cohort which gathered information on over 63,000 pregnant Danish women and their dietary habits from January 1996 to October 2002. The researchers gathered information about these women’s health, diets, and lifestyles over the course of their pregnancies, and familial follow ups were conducted when the children reached the ages 6 months old and 18 months old, then again at ages 7 and 11, and finally again when the children reached 14 years of age. 

Scientists discovered that the women’s gluten intake during pregnancy was strongly associated with the risk of their children developing type 1 diabetes, and that the risk increased proportionally. They found that the risk for developing type 1 diabetes doubled for the children whose mothers consumed the highest gluten. 

It is important to note that none of the pregnant women studied had type 1 diabetes, and that many aspects of health where considered and adjusted for such as smoking, weight, and age.

According to researchers, the risk of developing type 1 diabetes maybe related to the complex interactions of diet, immune development, microbiota, and intestinal permeability, all which can play a role in the development of the disease.

For various reasons, I have been gluten free for years. If you would like to go gluten-free, please see below for a printable list of foods to avoid that contain gluten.

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Foods that contain gluten

  • Wheat & wheat germ
  • Wheat starch
  • Couscous
  • Durum Semolina
  • Farina
  • Farro
  • FV
  • Gliadin
  • Graham flour
  • Kamut
  • Matzo
  • Barley
  • Bulgur
  • Rye
  • Seitan
  • Triticale
  • Mir
  • Some veggie burgers
  • Carmel coloring
  • Malt
  • Soy sauce
  • Some broths
  • Bran
  • Some spices
  • Some dressings
  • Wheat berries
  • Brewer’s yeast

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