Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome, and Cardiovascular Risk in Gluten-Free Followers Without Celiac Disease in the United States: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009–2014

Hyun seok Kim, Michael F. Demyen, Justin Mathew, Neil Kothari, Mirela Feurdean, Sushil K. Ahlawat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Despite unclear benefits of gluten-free diets (GFD) in the general population, gluten-free followers without medical indications are driving the market. Few studies have investigated health benefits of GFD in the general population. Aims: To estimate metabolic and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk profiles among gluten-free followers without celiac disease (CD). Methods: Data were obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2009–2014. There were 13,523 persons without CD who had GFD information. People with known CVD were excluded. We compared gluten-free followers without CD and the general population by selective metabolic and CVD risk profiles using survey-weighted generalized logistic regression. Results: There were 155 gluten-free followers without CD and CVD, corresponding to a weighted prevalence of 1.3% (3.2 million Americans). Gluten-free followers tended to be women and have a smaller waist circumference and higher HDL cholesterol. They also had a lower BMI with a borderline p value (0.053) and significant self-reported weight loss (−1.33 kg) over one year. Moreover, gluten-free followers were more likely to consider their weight appropriate. There was no statistical difference by age, smoking, hypertension, total cholesterol, triglyceride cholesterol, HbA1c, or fasting glucose. Despite a lower probability of having metabolic syndrome (33.0 vs 38.5%) and lower 10-year CVD risk score (4.52 vs 5.70%) in gluten-free followers, there was no statistical difference. Conclusions: Although being on a GFD may be beneficial in weight management, there was no significant difference in terms of prevalence of metabolic syndrome and CVD risk score in gluten-free followers without CD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2440-2448
Number of pages9
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Volume62
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Gluten-free diet
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology

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