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Scientific study: elimination of dietary gluten does not reduce titers of type 1 diabetes-associated autoantibodies in high-risk subjects

July 2002 | 3 min read


Some evidence exists suggesting gluten may be a factor in the autoimmune response associated with diabetes, particularly in patients with celiac disease. Researchers evaluated the possible role of gluten in the development of type 1 diabetes.

Key Points

  • The study included seven patients without celiac disease who were first-degree relatives of patients with type 1 diabetes and who demonstrated a specific antibody marker associated with diabetes, but were not yet clinically diabetic.
  • These patients followed a gluten-free diet for 12 months, then had gluten reintroduced into their diets for an additional 12 months.
  • Results found that the diabetes-specific antibodies did not change during the gluten‑free diet or after reintroducing gluten.
  • The authors concluded, “The findings do not support the hypothesis that gluten is a driving antigen in type 1 diabetes.”

Key Takeaways

While removing gluten from the diet in patients with celiac disease can reduce the frequency of occurrence of type 1 diabetes in patients with celiac disease, gluten may not have a role in inducing diabetes in non-diabetic and non-celiac disease patients.


Hummel M, et al. Elimination of Dietary Gluten Does Not Reduce Titers of Type 1 Diabetes–Associated Autoantibodies in High-Risk Subjects. Diabetes Care 25:1111–1116, 2002.