Findings from a new trial suggest that following a low gluten diet could be associated with modest weight loss and reduced gastrointestinal discomfort.
The trial included 60 middle-aged Danish adults without coeliac disease or known disorders who were assigned to two eight-week interventions comparing a low gluten diet (2 g gluten per day) and a high gluten diet (18 g gluten per day), separated by a washout period of at least six weeks with habitual diet (12 g gluten per day).
The study found that compared to a high gluten diet, the low gluten diet-induced changes in the composition and function of the gut microbiome, reduced hydrogen exhalation, and led to improvements in self-reported bloating. A modest weight loss was also observed when following the low gluten diet for eight weeks compared with the high gluten diet.
Based on their observations of altered food fermentation patterns of the gut bacteria, the researchers suggested the effects of the low gluten diet in healthy people may not be primarily due to reduced intake of gluten itself but rather to a change in dietary fibre when fibres from wheat and rye are replaced with fibres from vegetables, brown rice, corn, oat and quinoa.
The findings are published in Nature Communications.