Browse the cookbook selection at your local bookstore, open the latest issue of your fitness magazine, or follow the social media account of your favorite nutrition blogger and you'll likely to believe that nearly everyone has jumped aboard the gluten-free diet train. From health gurus and celebrities to friends and family members, the number of people cutting gluten from their diet has continued to climb in recent years.
Gluten sensitivity and celiac disease
As Newsweek explained, the increased availability of gluten-free fooditems at nearly every grocery and convenient store is linked to the rise in those touting the health benefit of an eating plan free of gluten, but perhaps more importantly, to the two health-related conditions gluten intolerance and celiac disease. While the rate of the former has continued to increase in recent years, the later - an autoimmune disease - has remained at a relatively stable rate, impacting every 1 in 100 people.
For individuals living with celiac disease, avoiding gluten is crucial for comfort. In these people, the body views the protein gluten as an invader and as such, the body has a negative reaction that can include stomach pain, diarrhea, bloating and discomfort. Gluten is most often found in wheat, rye, and barley products and is often used in processing food.
As mentioned above, the people experiencing the adverse reaction to gluten based on intolerance or celiac disease aren't the only ones adopting a diet free of the protein. However, a new report from Harvard University may lead them to re-evaluate that decision.
The benefits of gluten
According to a press release from the American Heart Association, gluten may in fact be beneficial for the body. Reporting on an investigation from the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, which was presented at a recent conference, the AHA explained that diets with more gluten were found to be linked to a lowered risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Analyzing data on the daily gluten intake of 199,794 people through a long-term observational study, the research spanned 30 years.
Three decades of follow up revealed that the majority of participants consumed less than 12 grams of gluten each day. However, those who ate the most gluten each day - in the highest 20 percentile - were found to have a 13 percent decreased risk of having Type 2 diabetes when compared to those who generally consumed less than 4 grams of gluten per day.
"We wanted to determine if gluten consumption will affect health in people with no apparent medical reasons to avoid gluten," said Geng Zong, Ph.D., a research fellow and study investigator. "Gluten-free foods often have less dietary fiber and other micronutrients, making them less nutritious and they also tend to cost more. People without celiac disease may reconsider limiting their gluten intake for chronic disease prevention, especially for diabetes."
Moreover, it was discovered that for those who ate less gluten, less fiber was also consumed. Fiber has been known to help protect against the development of diabetes, noted the AHA press release.
Type 2 diabetes
As The Washington Post reported, at the conclusion of the study, almost 16,000 of the participants had developed Type 2 diabetes. The data indicates that there could be a link between diabetes risk and gluten consumption though it still remains to be seen why the gluten helped to reduce risk of developing the disease. As mentioned above, one theory indicates that with higher gluten ingestion came more fiber. The researchers concluded that further research is necessary.
In addition to fiber, there are other dietary and health habits that can help to reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, maintaining your weight and exercising regularly can help tremendously. And even more importantly, eating smarterby cutting out sugars and adding more fruits and vegetables can help reduce your risk.
These tips are also beneficial for those who have already been diagnosed with diabetes or even pre-diabetes. It's not always easy to change your diet, but when it becomes a matter of health, it's important. If you need help transitioning to a healthier eating plan, consider the MiraBurst berry tablet. By temporarily modifying your perception of taste - for up to 90 minutes - you can enjoy the sour and acidic taste of some of these healthier foods. Helping things taste sweet and satisfying, miracle berry tablets make it easy for you to consume the nutritious foods that can help fight off disease!