Food such as bread, cereal and pasta are part of every Singaporean’s regular diet. What do they have in common? They are all common foods that contain gluten. Not just staple foods, but many of our favourite snacks, like cakes, cookies, pretzels and many more all contain gluten.
If your wife is pregnant, it is essential to know what food that contains gluten. New research has concerning news: High gluten intake during pregnancy could cause your child to develop type 1 diabetes.
According to research published in the British Medical Journal, 91,000 mothers were studied over a period of six years to observe the effect of their gluten on their pregnancy. While they had gluten intake ranging from less than 7g to more than 20g daily, the average daily gluten intake was 13g. Those who consumed 20g or more daily had a 0.53 per cent rate of type 1 diabetes in their children, observed over 15 years. On the other hand, those who consumed 7g or less had almost half the rate, at 0.3 per cent.
However, with only 247 (0.37 per cent) of the children contracting it, a solid conclusion cannot be reached. According to a report in the Guardian, Dr Knud Josefsen, co-author of the research from the Bartholin Institute in Copenhagen, said the results should be interpreted with caution. “At present we don’t recommend any changes in pregnant women’s diet,” he said. The research is also unable to account for the amount of gluten in the diets of the children as well as many other factors that might cause type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is a condition that is usually inherited. The body produces insufficient insulin, a hormone that keeps the blood sugar level balanced, resulting in a high amount of sugar in the blood. 1 in 9 Singaporeans have been diagnosed with diabetes and it is estimated that 5-10 per cent of those are type 1 diabetes. Currently, the rate of type 1 diabetes in Singapore is lower than other countries with 2.46 per 100,000 children aged 1-12 years diagnosed with it.
While your pregnant wife may want to control her gluten intake, she should not avoid it completely. A different study also shows that those who have low gluten intake are more susceptible to type 2 diabetes. Having a low gluten intake lowers the intake of cereal fibre, which among other beneficial nutrients that contribute to good health, also protects against type 2 diabetes.
Even though this information is alarming, it is also important to note that research on the topic is incomplete and more concrete data may be found in the future.
By Muhd Farhan