Gluten Free Guerrillas
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Gluten helps protect people from type 2 diabetes

Gluten helps protect people from type 2 diabetes

I found this today. From what I understand there is supposed to be a link between a gluten free diet and type 2 diabetes. Something to do with food products manufactured for coeliacs being so highly processed that they don't contain the vital ingredients needed to prevent type 2 diabetes. Is this true?

6 Replies

Hi Phil, this has come up before and there are a few factors firstly a gluten free diet is often lower in fibre and micronutrients. When fibre helps to protect us from diabetes. And micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are essential for our health/wellbeing and they are called micro because our bodies only require small amounts.

And because of the extra sugar in some gf foods our glycemic levels can be raised which can lead to diabetes. So basically the more a starch is processed/refined the more profound effect it has on our glycemic levels (blood sugar levels) This is the same argument that is used against eating white bread so this argument has been around for a long time.

Now it is also worth bearing in mind that brown rice can have high levels of arsenic and mercury this is especially true of rice grown in some parts of China.

So what the experts are saying is that adopting a faddy gluten free diet or one that is more likely to be low in gluten is doing them more harm than good. This was in the Telegraph recently:

However 'we' as coeliac need a gf diet and need to bear in mind that we need fibre and a balanced diet for good health. Pulses and fruit and vegetables are good at adding fibre so having a jacket potato adds fibre so its quite easy really, and an apple a day...

Lastly one of the biggest causes of diabetes is obesity, so we need to get enough exercise too.

And this is a very important topic so well done for raising it.


It wouldn't surprise me. Much the same as I'd imagine a fat free diet is, because people use alternatives, and those alternatives are high in sugar and artificial ingredients.

I think if you eat a gluten free but natural foods diet, you're probably not at much more of a risk. I wish they would elaborate though when they publish these sorts of studies...


These newspaper articles are hugely misleading and unnecessarily worrying. The study didn't look at the number of coeliacs who developed type 2 diabetes. The report's author said that he didn't know why there seemed to be link between people not eating gluten and type 2, and that there needed to be more research. The data used came came from a time before there were any "fad" gluten free diets.

This separate study on whether or not coeliacs go on to develop type 2 diabetes showed that it happened no more than in the general population. This didn't make any headlines.



Thank you for the advice. I've given up eating special gluten free foods on a regular basis, eat lots of fruit and veg, and started cycling again. Thanks for the heads up on brown rice. I though that was the healthier type, and I like rice. Its a pity quinoa is so expensive and sometimes cross contaminated or I would buy it more often.

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I think you might need to be concerned about rice if you are eating a lot of rice, rice cakes and drinking rice milk too.

Otherwise you can minimise the arsenic by how you prepare and cook it. Basmati rice also seems to be the best one to go for.

Soak your rice overnight – this opens up the grain and allows the arsenic to escape.

Drain the rice and rinse thoroughly with fresh water.

For every part rice add 5 parts water and cook until the rice is tender – do not allow it to boil dry.

Drain the rice and rinse again with hot water to get rid of the last of the cooking water.

You could have a look for the past episode of "Trust me, I'm a Doctor" about rice if you want more information.


The diabetes issue is one of the arguments I heard put forward for basic carbs being made available for coeliacs. Genetically having CD means we already have an increased risk of Type 1 and no amount of exercise can alter the genetics.

Ever feel eugenics being the norm for future generations?


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