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Should a Gluten-Free Diet be Recommended for Diabetics?

This blog post from Trina Health in West Los Angeles deals with diabetes and gluten-free diets.

Is a Gluten-Free Diet Recommended for Diabetics?

Friends and even medical professionals such as your doctor or pharmacist may suggest using a gluten-free diet, implying there may be advantages for diabetics. However, there is no scientific evidence that people with diabetes benefit unless you have been diagnosed with Celiac disease.

Celiac disease is an auto-immune disorder regarding how your body’s immune system reacts to gluten. Gluten is a protein that occurs in wheat, barley and rye. In persons with Celiac, this protein damages the lining of the small intestine.

If you have Celiac disease, your remedy is to follow a gluten-free diet.

The “friendly advice” you have received is probably due to a misunderstanding of this disease or popular misconceptions about the benefits of a gluten-free diet. Some diabetes research (primarily in regard to type 1) has focused on proteins found in wheat, milk and other foods to see how these proteins might affect a diabetic. While we still don’t know what causes type 1 diabetes, it is generally thought it might mainly be associated with a person’s genes. And other possible causes might include diet, viruses, and toxins as these elements might tear down insulin production in the pancreas.

Science is Trying to Find the Cause of Diabetes

Scientists are striving to determine definite causes that might contribute to diabetes. They have done studies of large groups of diabetics, animal trials and even some studies on human tissue. There has been some indication that milk and wheat proteins may play a role in type 1 diabetes but there is not enough data to be sure. Many of these scientific findings and research are inconclusive and even contradictory.

While we certainly applaud this research, none of the studies have determined that following a gluten-free diet will prevent onset of type 1 or type 2 diabetes. There is probably no harm in trying it. If you do decide to follow a gluten-free diet, work with a nutritionist who knows both gluten-free diets and diabetes to ensure that your nutritional goals and blood glucose control are met.

That said – if you have been diagnosed with Celiac disease – by all means, go gluten-free to treat this disease. One of my close relatives was having a variety of health problems and when she was diagnosed with Celiac disease, she immediately went gluten-free. And the results were remarkable. She had a dramatic overall health improvement.

Migraines – One of Celiac Disease Symptoms

If you have overall health issues such as fatigue, bone or joint pain, tingling numbness in your hands or feet, migraines, or canker sores inside your mouth, (there are other symptoms) ask your physician to screen you for Celiac disease. There are blood tests that can suggest Celiac disease and a biopsy of your small intestine can confirm a diagnosis.

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