By: Vivek Krishnam
In a cohort study published by The BMJ, researchers found that a diet with a high amount of gluten during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of type one diabetes in their children. This study was completed in Denmark where researchers analyzed dietary data from about 60,000 pregnant women from January 1996 to October 2002. They also obtained information about diabetes in their children. The researchers found that children whose mothers had the highest gluten intake versus those with the lowest gluten intake had double the risk of developing type 1 diabetes over a follow-up period of about 15 years. In this cohort, the average gluten intake was 13g/day, with a range from 7-20g/day on the low and high end. However, this was an observational study, so causation cannot be concluded from these findings. There is no known information on why a high gluten diet is bad, as gluten is simply a name for several proteins found in wheat. Researchers have proposed that a high gluten diet can lead to inflammation or leakiness of the gut, but more evidence is needed to support that conclusion as these effects can be due to something besides gluten in the grain. However, gluten may soon be a substantiated culprit. In a study where the subjects analyzed were animals, a gluten free diet during their pregnancy almost completely prevented type 1 diabetes in offspring. This may be enough for expecting mothers to add gluten to the list of substances they should be wary of during their pregnancy.
BMJ. (2018, September 19). High gluten diet in pregnancy linked to increased risk of diabetes in children: Further studies needed to confirm or rule out findings, and to explore possible underlying mechanism. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 26, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180919200335.htm