A new study looks at how fibre intake and gluten intake during pregnancy affect the rate of coeliac disease in children.
Gluten vs fibre during pregnancy
The research suggests that women who pack in the fibre during their pregnancy may be protecting their child from coeliac disease.
Coeliac disease causes a person’s immune system to react to gluten — the protein found in wheat, rye and barley — and damages the lining of the small intestine.
The Norwegian-led study reviewed health and diet information of more than 88,000 Norwegian children and their mums, Live Science reports.
The women detailed both their gluten and their fibre intake at the 22nd week of pregnancy, and then their children were followed for the next 11 years by researchers.
What the team found was that the amount of gluten a mother consumed didn’t seem to affect her child’s susceptibility to coeliac disease – which affects around 1 percent of the population.
But the findings on consuming fibre and a child having coeliac disease were more surprising.
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High fibre may provide protection
The researchers found that mums with the highest fibre intake (more than 45 grams of fibre each day) were 34 percent less likely to have children with coeliac disease, compared with mums who had a low fibre intake (less than 19 grams each day.)
The researchers are not quite sure what these findings mean just yet, and note that further study is required before it’s categorically claimed that fibre provides some protection against coeliac disease.
“We cannot yet recommend any specific dietary measures during pregnancy to prevent coeliac disease, and this needs to be further studied,” Dr Ketil Størdal, the study lead author and a research professor at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health said in a statement.
Still, it does sound promising and eating more fibre is very often a good idea, even when you’re not pregnant. It’s recommended that pregnant women try to eat between 25 and 28g of fibre each day.
Good to note also that if you’ve been holding back on the sourdough during pregnancy, there’s no need to on account of the gluten, at least.
“Our findings do not support gluten restriction for pregnant women,” Dr Størdal confirmed. #Champ