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ADW Diabetes

Gluten Sensitivity

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Diabetes and gluten sensitivity are both autoimmune diseases with some similar symptoms. People with gluten sensitivity cannot tolerate the protein in certain grains. Recent research revealed links between gluten sensitivity and diabetes.

  • Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye. Gluten sensitive people who eat them experience intestinal inflammation and irregular blood sugar. Treatment includes a gluten-free diet.

Diabetic FoodExperts are learning more about gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. Gluten can trigger increased insulin production. This leads to imbalanced blood sugar, creating a link to diabetes. People with diabetes have high blood sugar levels. Use a blood glucose monitor regularly to determine whether your blood sugar is too high or too low.

  • The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation helped fund a study conducted by the London School of Medicine and University of Cambridge. The study showed a genetic similarity between gluten insensitivity and diabetes. People with celiac disease should check their blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, watch for symptoms of gluten sensitivity but remember not all people with diabetes are sensitive to gluten.
  • According to the ADA, abdominal pain is associated with gluten intolerance. If someone with celiac disease eats foods with gluten, the body reacts. It damages the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of nutrients in food. A gluten-free diet may help you feel better and prevent permanent damage to your body.
  • Symptoms of gluten insensitivity can be similar to symptoms of diabetes including weight gain, depression, anxiety and hormonal imbalance. If you experience ongoing gastrointestinal upset or any of these symptoms, discuss gluten intolerance screening with your medical provider.
  • Celiac disease and diabetes are both autoimmune diseases. They can cause inflammation that may result in organ damage. A healthy diet with fruits, vegetables and lean meats helps reduce inflammation in both conditions.
  • Foods with gluten include wheat, oats, barley, pasta, spelt and beer as well as many processed and boxed foods. Gluten-free breads, desserts and pastas are available from health stores and supermarkets. Other gluten-free foods include buckwheat, rice, soy, potato, bean flour, fresh fruits and vegetables. Include them in your daily diet and steer clear of foods with gluten if necessary.
  • People with diabetes should limit their intake of carbohydrates at one sitting as well as the overall daily amount. Space carbohydrate servings thru out the day. Even healthy carbohydrates like whole grains eaten in large quantities can raise your blood sugar. Ward off hunger pangs with tasty diabetes snacks to maintain healthier blood glucose levels.
  • Unhealthy temptation is everywhere including work, home and social gatherings. Keep sugar free candy and sugar free cookies with you to steer clear of sugary goodies and gluten-laden choices.
  • If you have celiac disease or are intolerant to gluten, a gluten-free diet ensures more nutrients will reach your body. It also may help stabilize blood sugar levels. Always talk to your medical provider before starting any diet plan or removing any food groups from your diet.

There are notable links between diabetes, gluten sensitivity and blood sugar levels. Discuss a gluten-free diet with your diabetes care team to see if it is a possible option for you and always check with your physician when making any changes.