Saturday, August 3, 2013

Diabetes and Celiac Disease

Recently, there has been an increase incidence of Celiac Disease diagnosis in diabetic patients.  What does this mean for these patients?  This may equate to the need to search for new sources of complex carbohydrates as wheat, rye, and barley (three popular grains used in breads and pastas) contain gluten.  Gluten is the protein which induces an autoimmune response in people with Celiac Disease, causing break-down of the intestinal walls that absorb nutrients.  So what substitutions exist?  Corn, potato, millet, sorghum, flax, gluten-free oats, rice, and other labeled gluten-free products can be used in place of gluten-containing flours and grains.  These products are, sadly, often more expensive than the “typical” wheat, rye, and barley products.  The important thing to remember here is that those with Celiac Disease are at high risk for nutrient deficiencies due to decreased absorption, plus most conventional grains are fortified with B vitamins, so the substituted products may not have as much of those as may be needed to supplement the diet.  It’s important for these patients to avoid cross-contamination with gluten-containing products and to eat a balanced diet everyday so as to avoid deficiencies and not to turn only to gluten-free snack foods that may lead to weight gain.

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