What to Do When You Have Celiac Disease and Diabetes

Managing one health problem can be difficult, particularly when it involves sticking to a rigidly restricted diet.  Having celiac disease and diabetes is unfortunate but not impossible to live with. You may be surprised that up to 30% of people with diabetes also have celiac disease. The reason for this is that both diseases are auto immune diseases and may be closely linked.

This article offers strategies to combine both diets with the minimum of fuss.

Living with multiple health issues or diseases can definitely make life harder and complicate even the simplest things in life.  As a person with diabetes, balancing the levels of carbs, (starches and sugars) with the correct levels of insulin or oral medication for type 2 diabetics requires planning, careful thought and discipline.  The complex nature of the disease means that you should always consult your doctor and dietician for specific advice on your situation and regimen.

Those with type 1 diabetes could be at greater risk of developing celiac disease.  This means that they may need to manage a diet which controls both conditions.  The diets necessary to help manage both diseases can work perfectly well together, but will definitely need a lot of careful planning and consultation with a professional dietician and/or other medical professionals.

As is true for all people, diabetics also need to eat a well-balanced diet. One area that is particularly important and can involve a bit more difficulty is managing carbohydrate intake. In patients with both diabetes and celiac disease, they will need to include gluten-free versions of foods in their meal plan.

Gluten-free carbohydrates can be found in the following foods:

  • Potatoes
  • Rice
  • wild rice
  • buckwheat
  • maize
  • millet
  • sago
  • tapioca
  • corn flour
  • soya
  • polenta
  • flax
  • sorghum
  • linseed
  • gram flour
  • cargeenan
  • urd
  • channa (chickpea flour)
  • quinoa
  • arrowroot
  • codex wheat starch
  • corn pasta
  • pure rice noodles
  • gluten-free pastas
  • gluten-free versions of bread

Here are 4 rules to help you get the most out of your life if you are a diabetic living with celiac disease:

  • Make sure that you are well informed about both conditions and the potential impact that they can have on your life.  Make sure you clarify what you can and cannot eat and what alternatives there are.
  • Plan ahead and always bring a supply of gluten-free carbs and insulin with you.  Planning ahead includes involving school, friends, coworkers, and any other organizations you may be involved with who may need to be aware of your condition and provide assistance if necessary.
  • Take control of your life, and take responsibility for your choices. You are ultimately the one in charge of your disease management and accountable only to yourself.  Since you are a person who happens to have celiac disease and diabetes, you may encounter more difficulties than those who have only diabetes or only celiac disease. Just remember one important fact: You are not defined by these conditions.
  • Your confidence and control of these diseases can grow out of knowing what you can and cannot eat and following a healthy and balanced meal-plan. Instead of looking at these conditions as restrictions look at them as guidelines to having a long, healthy and quality life.  Having both diabetes and celiac disease can be very discouraging, but positivity can go a long way toward taking control of your life and ultimately lead to long-term happiness despite the challenges you face on a daily basis.

Try new things, push out the boundaries. The sky is the limit!