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Gluten And Diabetes: The Headlines Get It Wrong Again

Gluten and diabetes: The headlines get it wrong again

Gluten and diabetes: The headlines get it wrong again

Another study was released recently that purports to “prove” that gluten-free diets are associated with increased risk for type 2 diabetes. As with many studies of this type, the findings were misinterpreted but fed into the media’s continual need for titillating headlines. I thought this hubbub would pass by now, but reports about this study (such as this piece of tripe from The Washington Post) seem to be gaining more traction than usual, fueling the misunderstanding and misinformation that plagues nutritional thinking. While I thought this would just pass, it looks like it will not and I’m therefore posting my comments.
First, a few words about epidemiological studies of the sort this group used, the Physicians’ Health Study population of health professionals. The participants were asked diet questions, then health status was tracked over several years. Putting aside the imprecision of such dietary recall questionnaires, we know that such studies simply cannot—no matter how large the study, no matter how meticulous the questions—establish cause-effect relationships; they can only suggest a potential association. The purported 13% difference in type 2 diabetes incidence is minor, given the dramatic imprecision of epidemiological studies; confident associations are typically much larger than this: 40% or 50%, for instance. This does not stop, of course, media people, who are journalists at best, paid marketing people for the grain industry at worst, to propagate their misinterpretations.
To further illustrate the problems inherent in epidemiological studies, Continue reading

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Gestational Diabetes: Please Don’t Drink the “Glucola” Without Reading the Label

Gestational Diabetes: Please Don’t Drink the “Glucola” Without Reading the Label

I’m a midwife and MD who specializes in the health and wellness of pregnant mommas. While I’m one of the original crunchy mamas, I got the science thing down tight in my medical training at Yale, so I can keep you informed on what’s safe, what’s not, and what are the best alternatives.
This article, in which I take on the toxic ingredients in oral glucose test drinks, is the first in a 3-part series on gestational diabetes. If you’re pregnant, planning to be pregnant, or working with pregnant mommas – this series is for you!
Is Gestational Diabetes Really an Issue?
In the past decade obesity has become rampant in our country. With it the rates of diabetes in the general population, and gestational diabetes (GDM) – which is an excessive increase in glucose intolerance in pregnancy (some increase in glucose intolerance is actually normal and allows more sugar to get to the baby for growth) – have risen dramatically. Current estimates are that 5%-7% of pregnant women in the U.S. develop GDM.
Gestational diabetes increases the risk of a host of serious medical problems for mom and baby. However, at levels even lower than those that would qualify a woman for a GDM diagnosis, chronically elevated blood sugar also puts mom and baby at much higher risk of pregnancy and birth complications.
Elevated blood sugar creates a condition in the body called “oxidative stress” and in pregnancy, which is already a state of somewhat increased oxidative stress, this can lead to high blood pressure, preeclampsia, and preterm birth. Also, babies born to overweight or diabetic Continue reading

Low-gluten or Gluten-free Diets Linked to Type 2 Diabetes

Low-gluten or Gluten-free Diets Linked to Type 2 Diabetes

Does reduction in gluten consumption provide long-term health benefits?
Gluten is a protein that is commonly found in wheat, rye and barley, which gives bread and other baked goods elasticity and a chewy texture. It is avoided in a small percentage of the population that cannot tolerate gluten due to Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Gluten-free foods often contain less dietary fiber and other micronutrients, such as, vitamins and minerals, thus making them less nutritious and they also tend to cost more. However, recent popularity of gluten-free diets has been trending even among people without any health problems.
A ‘Gluten-free’ diet has been interchangeably used to represent a ‘healthy diet.’ On the contrary, researchers have shown concern that it may actually lead to the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D) over a period of few decades. Although there is no scientific evidence that low-gluten will contribute to diabetes, the scientists are concerned about the long-term health benefits with the reduction in gluten consumption. An analysis of a large study of U.S. health professionals observed the effects of food on health in nearly 200,000 subjects. The study suggested that gluten intake might not exert significant adverse effects on the incidence of T2D or excess weight gain. Thus, limiting gluten from the diet is unlikely to facilitate T2D prevention and may lead to reduced consumption of cereal fiber or whole grains that help reduce diabetes risk. The purpose of the study was to determine if gluten consumption would affect health in people with no apparen Continue reading

Celiac Disease and Diabetes 5-Day Meal Plan

Celiac Disease and Diabetes 5-Day Meal Plan

Designed by CDF Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Janelle Smith, the Celiac and Diabetes 5-Day Meal Plan helps those with a dual diagnosis of diabetes and celiac disease or non-celiac wheat sensitivity to eat nutritiously and safely.
IMPORTANT: Always check food labels to get the most accurate carbohydrate count for dosing insulin. Consult your endocrinologist or certified diabetes educator/dietitian to help modify the meal plan for your individual needs.
Monday
Breakfast – GF Banana Oatmeal (65 g carb, 452 calories)
3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill quick gluten-free oatmeal (44 g carb)
½ banana (15 g carb)
1/8 cup walnut pieces (2 g carb)
1/3 cup 1% fat milk (4 g carb)
AM Snack – Cheese and crackers (14 g carb, 207 calories)
1 oz cheddar cheese (0 g carb)
10 Crunchmaster Multiseed crackers (14 g carb)
Lunch – Turkey sandwich (62 g carb, 459 calories)
2 slices Rudi’s multigrain gluten-free bread (34 g carb)
4 oz sliced turkey (2 g carb)
1 tsp mayo, 1 tsp mustard, romaine lettuce, tomato (1-2 g carb)
1 medium-large apple (24 g carb)
PM Snack – Pretzels and hummus (14 g carb, 78 calories)
12 Snyder’s GF pretzel sticks (12 g carb)
1 tbsp plain hummus (2 g carb)
Dinner – Chicken Pasta Alfredo (61 g carb, 474 calories)
1 serving Dairy-free pasta alfredo (44 g carb)
2 tbsp sundried tomatoes (10 g carb)
1 grilled chicken breast (0 g carb)
6 grilled asparagus spears (6 g carb)
Dessert – Strawberries and cream (14 g carb, 84 calories)
1 cup strawberries (12 g carb)
2 tbsp whipped topping (2 g carb)
Tuesday
Breakfast – Hot cereal topped with yogurt (62 g carb, 459 calorie Continue reading

Gluten-free diets are not actually linked to diabetes

Gluten-free diets are not actually linked to diabetes

In the pantheon of fad diets, there is perhaps none more hated on than gluten-free. And despite how annoying fad dieters are (if I hear one more person order a salad because they’re ‘gluten-free’ and then ask for croutons…), it’s not unreasonable to want to avoid foods that might possibly be bad for you. But is gluten actually bad for people who don’t have a problem with it?
There’s no real evidence that avoiding gluten leads to tangible health benefits, assuming that you don’t have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. But there also haven’t been many studies that actually asked that question—there’s just not much information out there. On Thursday we got some preliminary answers...kind of.
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People who eat low gluten diets are at a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes, according to results presented on Thursday at the American Heart Association Meeting. It’s crucial to point out here that these researchers weren’t looking at peo Continue reading

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