For an 18-month-old toddler, each extra 10 grams of gluten consumed increases his or her risk of type 1 diabetes by 46%…

This is according to new research presented at the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Barcelona, Spain (16-20 September).

Whilst a previous study suggested that a high maternal gluten intake during pregnancy increased the risk of type 1 diabetes in the child, the new research found no association.

The study included over 80 000 children

The latest study included 86 306 children in the ‘Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study’ born from 1999 to 2009, followed up until April 2018.

Follow-up done 12 years later

During a mean follow-up of 12,3 years, 346 children (0,4%) developed type 1 diabetes (incidence rate of 32,6 per 100 000 person-years).

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The average gluten intake was 13,6 grams/day for mothers during pregnancy and 8,8 grams/day for the child at 18 months of age.

Maternal gluten intake in mid-pregnancy was not associated with the development of type 1 diabetes in the child.

However, the child’s gluten intake at 18 months of age was associated with an increased risk of later developing type 1 diabetes, with risk increasing by 46% for each 10g per day increase in gluten intake.

The gluten that children eat is linked to celiac disease

What causes the link between gluten and diabetes?

According to the study authors, gluten intake may influence the gut microbiota and induce inflammation in so-called ‘leaky gut’ (increased absorption of dietary antigens and/or gut infections).

These are plausible mechanisms, but the exact mechanism explaining our findings is not known.

The authors believe that gluten works in combination with other environmental factors, such as virus infections, in predisposed children.

Source: Diabetologia via www.sciencedaily.com

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