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High gluten diet in pregnancy linked to diabetes in children


Mums can prevent diabetes.

Mums can prevent diabetes.

Mums can prevent diabetes.

Women who have a diet high in gluten during pregnancy could increase the risk of their children developing diabetes, a study suggests.

Having a high-gluten diet during pregnancy can lead to an increased risk of type 1 diabetes among children, according to the study of tens of thousands of women.

Previous studies among animals showed a gluten-free diet during pregnancy almost "completely prevented" type 1 diabetes among offspring, experts said.


The team of international researchers set out to examine whether a similar effect was found in humans.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, examined data on more than 63,000 pregnant women from Denmark.

The women, who were enrolled into the Danish National Birth Cohort between January 1996 and October 2002, completed a food frequency questionnaire when they were 25 weeks pregnant, which measured the amount of gluten they consumed.

Common foods that contain gluten include bread, pasta and cereal.

The participants were followed up until 2016 to track the development of type 1 diabetes in their children.

The experts found that the average gluten intake among women was 13g per day, ranging from 7g to 20g.

They identified 247 cases of type 1 diabetes among children after an average follow-up period of 15.6 years.

The authors concluded that the risk of type 1 diabetes in children "increased proportionately" with maternal gluten intake.

Children of women with the highest intake had double the risk compared with those with the lowest intake.

However, the authors said more evidence is needed before officials should make dietary recommendations.