Diabetes and Coeliac Disease

A person is diagnosed with diabetes when their body cannot use glucose properly. The unused glucose, at high levels in the blood stream, can cause damage to other parts of the body such as heart disease, kidney disease, circulation problems and nerve problems.

Coeliac Disease and Diabetes 1 are both autoimmune diseases. Children and adults with diabetes are more likely to develop coeliac disease as it is believed they are genetically linked.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body reacts and destroys the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. In order for the body to use glucose (simple sugars which are broken down from the food we eat by our digestive system), insulin has to be produced otherwise the body will starve.

Everyone needs insulin to survice, whether they produce themselves or inject it. 

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is usually hereditary and has a genetic link, so some people are more of a risk at developing type 2 diabetes. You maybe at an increase risk if you have a close family member with Type 2 diabetes such as you sister or father etc, if you are overweight or gesational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy).

Type 1 or 2 and coeliac disease

Living with Type 2 and coeliac disease will affect your diet and foods need to be carefully chosen. A gluten free diet is essential combined with low fat, high fibre, starchy foods, fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes and pulses.

Eat well

It will be important to eat foods to control the blood sugar levels in your diet and choose gluten free options.

5 Tips for a coeliac and diabetic diet

1. Eat meals gluten free meals regulary, do not skip meals. You wil reduce the erge to snack and help control blood glucose levels. Seeded breads and pasta. Chickpeas and quinoa have a low glyceamic index. Buckwheat flakes can be bought for breakfast or quiioa porridge is naturally gluten free. Eat starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams.

2. Eat more fruit, veg legumes and beans. The government's initiative aims to get everyone eating 5 portions a day. Fresh, canned (in fruit juice) or frozen varieties make this easy to achieve. One portion is equal to 2 satsumas, 1 banana, a tablespoon of mixed dried fruit and nuts, a glass of fruit juice etc. Peas, beans and pulses are naturally gluten free and real tummy fillers. Try a buckwheat salad or chickpea curry or burgers. Chickpeas help to control blood sugar levels.

3. Eat low fat, low salt and low sugar. Reduce your fat intake to lose or control your weight. Use semi or skimmed milk, low fat spreads, cheeses and yoghurts. Try grilling, baking and steaming rather than frying. Choose tomato based sauces rather than cheese sauces. Salt can rase blood pressure so reduce the amount you add in cooking and sprinkled on your dinner. Ready meals and processed foods contain high quantities of salt and stock cubes are primarily salt... try to keep to less than 6g a day for an adult and less for children. Sugar can be eaten in moderation and will effect your blood pressure. Choose low sugar options, preferably natural choices with stevia , a sugar free alternative, for example or no added sugar varieties.

4. Limit alchohol. Remember to choose gluten free varieties and preferably drink with a meal to avoid a hypoglycemic episode. Wine and spirits, sherry and port etc are possible acceptable.

5. Eat lean meats and fish. These are naturally gluten free and can be cooked in a variey of delicious ways. experimient with new flavoursome recipes. Oily fish can reduce heart disease, stemed fish can be a light option and chicken casseroles are easy meals that can be eated for a day or two.

A gluten free diabetic diet can be just as delicious as any other diet and trying new foods with your coeliac and diabetic child can be a new adventure. Take care with diabetic foods as low sugar, may not mean low fat and calorific plus they are expensive too!


Try some fab gluten free recipes in our cookbook