Don’t avoid gluten unless you have to

By Rich Jackson

Food fads are a way of life in developed countries, and recent trends include Greek yogurt, acai berries, and gluten-free foods. Gluten is the general name for a group of proteins commonly found in grains, and a specific gluten protein, gliadin, is a major trigger for Celiac disease. Celiac  is an autoimmune disease with a strong genetic component that presents as an inflammation of the bowel in response to eating gluten-containing foods. Celiac disease is serious, and the main treatment is a gluten-free diet. However, celiac disease is uncommon (about 1% of the population), and gluten allergies seem even less common. Gluten is not an unhealthy protein, and is a common component of many healthy foods. There is no reason to avoid it if you don’t have celiac disease. In fact, this abstract from Harvard Medical School presented yesterday at the American Heart Association annual research meetings found that people who consumed low gluten diets were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Whole grains contain fiber and gluten, and remain a very healthy diet component for everyone without celiac disease.

See abstract here.

Watch our video on food and a video Dr. Jackson did with our friends at “Diabetes What To Know”.

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