Type 1 Diabetes and Wheat Consumption Link Found

A recent study run by scientists at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and the University of Ottawa have shown a strong link between the onset of type 1 diabetes and an immune response to wheat.

Dr. Fraser Scott and his team tested 42 people with type 1 diabetes and found that nearly half of the subjects had an abnormal immune response to wheat proteins.

The immune system, when working correctly, is meant to attack foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria, while leaving the body’s own tissues and harmless molecules in the environment alone. When this process works incorrectly, autoimmune diseases and allergies can develop as the immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues. In the case of type 1 diabetes, the body attacks the pancreas, the organ that regulates blood sugar.

This research is the first to clearly demonstrate that immune cells (referred to as ‘T’ cells) from people with diabetes are more likely to over-react to wheat.

“The immune system has to find the perfect balance to defend the body against foreign invaders without hurting itself or over-reacting to the environment and this can be particularly challenging in the gut, where there is an abundance of food and bacteria,” said Dr. Scott, a Senior scientist at the hospital. “Our research suggests that people with certain genes may be more likely to develop an over-reaction to wheat and possibly other foods in the gut and this may tip the balance with the immune system and make the body more likely to develop other immune problems, such as type 1 diabetes.”

Dr. Scott’s previous research has shown that a wheat-free diet can reduce the risk of developing diabetes in animal models.

Emed's Comment:

If you have a genetic predisposition to diabetes, eating wheat products could potentially aggravate this condition. Excessive wheat consumption and over-indulging in refined carbohydrate foods could also bring on Type 2 Diabetes and a range of other serious ailments.

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It is best to avoid eating bread, cereals, pasta and white refined products whenever possible. Remember that all carbohydrates are burnt as cups of sugar, so when we scoff down bread, cereal or pasta, our blood sugars spike. As a result, the pancreas pumps out heaps of insulin to counteract this blood sugar rise. Over time, this can lead to insulin resistance and even pancreatic exhaustion. Say hello to diabetes.

As we have highlighted in our ‘Health Promoting Nutrition' article, immediately after you eat wheat, you may feel good. Great, in fact, as your blood sugars rise. Then an hour or so later, you feel hungry again, and your blood sugar levels drop below the ‘normal' level which results in you becoming hypoglycaemic. To stop this tiredness, you reach for another bit of bread or chocolate and so the process of the blood sugar spike and insulin production begins again.

The more bread, pasta, pastries, soft drinks (refined carbs) you consume, the greater the blood sugar spike. The pancreas has to work a lot harder to produce the insulin to stabilise blood sugar levels as compensation. This is how you gain weight, feel tired all the time and how you get diabetes.

It is little wonder that as obesity rates skyrocket, so do the number of diabetes cases.

The answer? Stop buying wheat based products. Although you feel like you ‘need' them, you don't. Skip the bakery, pasta aisle and basically all ‘middle' aisles of the supermarket. If you are going to eat a carbohydrate, make it a fruit or vegetable. Once you get your fill of lean meat, fruit, vegies and some dairy, you won't have enough room left for bread, pasta or rice.

Eating refined carbs also leads to states of disease and inflammation. Read our article on Eating to Reduce Inflammation for a guide on cutting down on your carb intake.

Want to know what to eat, how to eat it and when? Health Promoting Nutrition is your guide to optimal nutrition.

Don't understand how carbohydrates, fats and proteins affect you? Health Promoting Nutrition Explained is a back-to-basics guide on how each of these elements affects your health.

What else can I do?

  • Keep healthy, lean and your tummy full by increasing the amounts of lean protein in your diet. You must consume about 1.5 to 2 grams of protein per kilo of body weight. For more information about protein, click here.
  • Eat every 2 to 3 hours. Not only will you prevent hunger, your blood sugar levels will stay stable. Make sure each meal has a good protein source and unprocessed carbs. For meal ideas, click here.
  • Use a good multivitamin. They provide a good platform for energy production and help to ‘fill in the gaps' in your diet. It is impossible to get all your nutrients from your diet, especially if you eat commercially grown food. It is the cheapest form of health insurance you can buy. For the best multimineral and multivitamins, click here.
  • Drink enough water. It's coming into summer, so you need to need a MINIMUM of 20ml per kilo of body weight. Click here for more information.?¬¢Â‚Äö?ᬮ¬¨¬Æ
  • Need to control your sugar cravings? Help stabilise your blood sugar levels with a stabilising formula like Metagenics InsulexEagle Pharmaceuticals Gluco Support or Bioceuticals Gluco Factors.

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