Gluten And Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a health condition marked by having at least 3 of 5 symptoms: abdominal obesity/”apple shape”, elevated blood pressure, elevated fasting glucose level, high serum triglycerides, and low HDL (high density cholesterol/”good cholesterol”. It is also called Prediabetes, cardiometabolic syndrome, syndrome X. The central feature is insulin resistence.

One thing that is little known about gluten is its’ ability to raise blood sugar dramatically upon ingestion. This in turn causes release of insulin from the pancreas to handle the spike in blood sugar and drive sugar into the cells as food. When too much sugar/glucose is available in the blood stream, high serum blood sugar results and the diagnosis is diabetes/prediabetes.

Sugar is a dangerous substance when too much is available. Cells can only take in so much or they get damaged. Insulin receptors can close down and even disappear when too much sugar is available. Insulin stays high as well as glucose and full blown insulin resistance begins. Gluten, as well as other foods can contribute to surges in blood sugar. Wheat is right up there at the top.

In a pilot study from the Netherlands (Netherlands Trial Register NTR3002), the study tested whether, independent of weight loss, a modified Paleolithic type diet altered some of the above parameters detailed above. It was a small, study, but results show intriguing promise: In just 2 weeks on this basically grain free diet, subjects improved several cardiovascular risk factors compared to a healthy reference diet which included whole grains and wheat.

Blood pressure , total cholesterol, triglycerides were reduce and HDL increased. Glucose tolerance increased and some decrease in abdominal fat was observed. Similar effects have been seen in the Mediterranean diets. This study was particularly looking for lowering of risk factors pertaining to heart disease. It is well known that diabetics have a great risk for heart disease.

This study only went for 2 weeks. Think what a permanent diet of this nature could do to transform health, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. This was the first controlled study on the influence of a grain free whole foods diet in subjects with Metabolic Syndrome defined parameters.

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