Science News – Eating Gluten during Pregnancy can increase a child's risk of Type 1 Diabetes

Science News - Eating Gluten during Pregnancy can increase a child's risk of Type 1 Diabetes

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if you thought that being pregnant was difficult a new study has just come out that proves you right at least with respect to eating a balanced diet that's optimal for Yorga stating baby it's been known for most of human history that a pregnant woman's diet will greatly influence the health of her child the most obvious example is alcohol drinking alcohol during pregnancy can damage your child's brain and cognitive development so the optimal amount of alcohol to consume while pregnant is zero don't drink alcohol at all while you're pregnant okay so that's easy but it's a little more complicated with other stuff like folic acid pregnant women are recommended to have 400 micrograms of folic acid a day during the first few weeks of pregnancy because folic acid deficiency in this early stage and development can lead to neural tube defects in spina bifida where the spinal cord is malformed and exposed but too much folic acid is linked with autism this is complicated by the fact that women typically don't realize that they're pregnant in the first three to four weeks when folic acid levels are critical now a new study has identified another dietary compound that pregnant women have to be mindful of gluten this study used the national health information registries in Denmark to examine the association between prenatal gluten exposure and the risk of the child developing type 1 diabetes because the researchers were using national health registries they had a huge sample size somewhere around sixty seven and a half thousand pregnancies in sixty three and a half thousand women some women had more than one child during the study period as to their results the researcher said quote the average gluten intake was thirteen point zero grams per day ranging from less than seven grams per day to more than 20 grams per day the incidence of type 1 diabetes among children in the cohort was 0.37% with a mean follow-up period of fifteen point six years risk of type when diabetes in offspring increased proportionally with maternal gluten intake during pregnancy women with the highest gluten intake versus those with the lowest gluten intake had double the risk of type 1 diabetes development in their offspring unquote an incidence rate of about 0.3 7% is pretty rare but this was only if the pregnant woman consumed 7 grams of gluten or less per day so this is on the low end of the scale women who ate 20 grams of gluten or more per day were putting their children it almost doubled the risk so that's what the data says but there's some kavita's that we have to take into consideration first and most obvious is that these are pretty small incidence rates this effect isn't very strong nor is it very widespread second they didn't examine the child's diet in early life or the breastfeeding mothers diet so both of these are possible confounding variables that might blur any links between prenatal diet and child type 1 diabetes third they didn't check for other confounding variables like pre-existing diseases gluten consumption is linked to celiac disease and celiac disease is linked to a higher risk for type 1 diabetes so if they didn't look at this kind of stuff if they didn't take this into consideration well that too will blur the link and the fourth self-reported data is notoriously inaccurate my epidemiology undergrad teacher would make this point quite often and she would show examples of bad epidemiology questionnaires that asked kind of unwieldy questions like how many servings of fruit have you consumed in the last six months and how many hours of strenuous physical exercise do you do in a month the problem with these questions is that these are all things that can be interpreted in wildly different ways for example what's a serving of fruit and not everyone knows and even for people who do know how much a serving of fruit is not everyone is able to keep track of or is able to remember how much fruit they ate in the last six months it's the same with exercise how do you define strenuous however you define it the people answering the questions will undoubtedly have a different perception of what you mean by strenuous physical activity this is why self-reported data is generally considered the lowest form of evidence it's the same reason why the testimony of an eyewitness in a court of law is generally considered to be the weakest kind of evidence so the conclusions of this paper aren't so simple and straightforward you might be thinking oh I'll just not eat any gluten at all and my kid will be just fine well not necessarily because if you avoid all foods with gluten well you'll also be cutting out foods that are also rich in iron and B vitamins like b12 and b6 deficiencies in these nutrients aren't good for your guests stating baby either so you really have to learn to balance your diet and eating a balanced diet is hard and being pregnant is harmed so eating a balanced diet while being pregnant is really hard when it comes to diet I try to blend my understanding of modern diet science with what our ancestors ate as we evolved this means that you generally want to eat cruciferous vegetables for minerals and fiber you want to eat real fruits for the natural sugars and you want to eat real meat for the protein in the fact you should eat more fruits and vegetables than meats and you should generally avoid overly processed foods like breads and pastries but it's really impossible for me to give you an accurate precise percentages on what you should and shouldn't eat because all of this varies so much from person to person but as long as you have a reasonable balanced diet and you're not eating like six slices of bread a day you and your gift stating baby should be just fine you

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