No Need to Recommend Gluten-Free Diet to Anyone

A large study of the effect of eating a gluten-free diet does not prompt scientists to recommend people to avoid gluten unless they have celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Gluten-Free Diet

It has become increasingly popular among both Danish and foreign consumers to eat a diet containing less or no gluten. A major study from an international research team – including researchers from the DTU Food Institute – has studied the effect of eating a gluten-free diet.

The 50 participants of the study had to eat for a period of time a diet containing more gluten than an average diet and a gluten-free diet. Both types of diet had as far as possible the same amount of calories, nutrients and dietary fiber.

The participants felt less bloated and better fit when they ate the gluten-low diet. However, the researchers point out that the primary cause is probably a different composition of dietary fiber and not the absence of gluten. Therefore, the study itself does not give rise to recommending people eating a gluten-free diet – unless they have celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Extensive strategic cooperation

The study is conducted at the Strategic Research Center Gut, Grain and Greens (3G), which the DTU Food Institute has been in charge of. The Center has participated in some of Denmark‘s and the world’s leading researchers in the field, including DTU Bioengineering, DTU Chemical Engineering, University of Copenhagen and a university in Belgium as well as large companies like DuPont and Taconic.

The researchers in the 3G Center have been studying how the ‘grain in the diet’ – including both whole grain and gluten-free choice – affects the bowel bacteria and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes over the past six years. The recently published gluten study represents the last major study conducted in the center collaboration.

The cooperation, which was funded through a grant of NOK 35 million from the Strategic Research Council (now part of the Innovation Fund), has thus been officially completed.

The grant has been of great importance for establishing good cooperation between a number of Danish research communities with different expertise in bowel bacteria, diet and lifestyle diseases. Cross-disciplinary cooperation is necessary in order to solve such a major social challenge as prevention of lifestyle diseases.

Even though funding for the Center has expired, the researchers will continue to work to ensure that data and results from the project are continued in new projects for public health, both in Denmark and internationally.

Read more

The whole study is described in more detail in a scientific article in Nature CommunicationsA low-gluten diet induces changes in the intestinal microbiome of healthy Danish adults . Also read about the study in a press release from the KUShould you eat low gluten diet?

The 3G Center has received 35 million from the Strategic Research Council and the Innovation Fund .

The Research Group for Intestinal Bacteria and Health at DTU In a number of projects, the Food Institute has focused on developing strategies that can alter or exploit the intestinal microorganisms in order to prevent and / or cure diseases. Read more about the group’s research on the Institute’s website .

Facts About Gluten

Gluten is proteins found in most cereals such as wheat, barley and rye.

DTU Food Institute is co-author of a booklet that guides people with celiac disease in how to eat a diet free of gluten. It can also be used to inform family, friends, daycare, school and others about the disease.

Source : Technical University of Denmark