There’s a common misconception in the widespread belief that gluten-free means “healthier,” and that isn’t the case. While there are some situations in which gluten-free food products can be a healthier option, it isn’t right to say that gluten-free is always better.
Some have taken this idea to say that gluten-free bread is suitable for those with diabetes. So, is gluten-free bread good for people with diabetes?
Yes, but there isn’t a simple answer due to the differences among different types of gluten-free bread. Let’s learn more about when and why gluten-free bread could be good for those with diabetes and what you should still look out for before assuming that gluten-free bread is healthier!
Understanding Diabetes and Gluten-Related Conditions
To better answer this question, we first need to talk about what diabetes is and what gluten-related diseases entail. This information will better inform you about the diet requirements for each of these conditions and how they may or may not overlap.
Diabetes occurs when your blood sugar or blood glucose level is too high. When it’s too high, it can cause several dangerous side effects, including death if left untreated. The body of anyone with diabetes has trouble making insulin, which is the hormone that typically transmits blood sugar out of the bloodstream and to the cells.
Type 1 diabetes is when your body makes no insulin, and you must take insulin every day. On the other hand, type 2 diabetes is when your body doesn’t make enough or doesn’t use insulin properly. With type 2 diabetes, how much you need to take insulin will depend on your diet and situation.
Gluten is a protein contained in many food items that are commonly eaten in today’s modern age. One of the biggest culprits is wheat, but there are hundreds of products that contain gluten.
For those with gluten sensitivities or Celiac disease (an allergy to gluten), they cannot have any gluten in their diet without risking serious side effects such as:
- Extreme weight loss
If gluten is eaten regularly, it can cause permanent damage to the digestive systems of those with sensitivities or allergies, so everyone who suffers from these conditions must follow a gluten-free diet to protect themselves from the pain and long-term struggle that comes along with eating gluten.
Is Gluten-Free Bread Better for Diabetics?
With the information given above, the answer to this question is no. Eating gluten-free bread is not better for people with diabetes than eating any other bread simply because it does not contain gluten. Gluten-free bread can still have high levels of sugar and the wrong types of carbohydrates, and it is these things that those dealing with diabetes should be looking at as opposed to the gluten content.
If gluten-free food is healthier, why isn’t it better for people with diabetes? The fact is that you cannot simply generalize that gluten-free food is healthier than gluten-containing food. It is possible that gluten-free food prepared at home would be healthier for a person with diabetes than a different meal, but it is also possible that store-bought gluten-free bread could be just as bad (if not worse) than store-bought gluten-containing bread.
The main things that you should check before buying any product gluten-free or otherwise, are as follows:
There are many gluten-free food items on the market today that aren’t really healthy options for anyone. As someone managing diabetes, you must consider that simply following a gluten-free diet may not be enough to manage your disease.
What Does Science Say?
At this time, there is no strong scientific evidence that a gluten-free diet is good for people with diabetes. While some primary studies suggest that a gluten-free diet may decrease the risk of developing diabetes, more research still needs to be done to confirm or deny these findings.
On the flip side, some scientists have evidence that a gluten-free diet can actually increase your risk of diabetes type 2. The only thing confirmed is an increased risk of Celiac disease if you already have type 1 diabetes. This is thought to be a genetic link, but scientists need to do more research in this regard.
Make Wise Choices
Is gluten-free bread good for people with diabetes? You now know that there is no simple “yes” or “no” answer, but generally speaking, gluten-free bread can be a safe choice for those with diabetes. Gluten-free bread tends to be low in ingredients that can cause blood sugar spikes, but those with diabetes still need to be careful about what they eat.
Be sure that no matter what you add to your diet, you keep those foods in discussion with your doctor or health care providers to be sure that you are making good choices.