Gluten-free diets can be challenging, but are essential for people with gluten intolerance or diabetes. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye and a cross between wheat and rye called triticale. Celiac disease is called celiac disease in medical language and, like type 1 diabetes, is an autoimmune disease. It is not uncommon for people to suffer from both conditions. For people with diabetes and gluten intolerance, you need to know which foods to avoid. At the same time, having both conditions can benefit, people with gluten intolerance are usually aware of foods that they need to avoid and are more reflective about their eating habits. Several of the foods that people with gluten intolerance should avoid are also things that adversely affect blood sugar levels.
However, a gluten-free diet is popular with people without gluten-related medical conditions. The claimed benefits of the diet are improved health, weight loss and increased energy. Most clinical studies on gluten-free diets have been conducted with people who have celiac disease. Therefore, there is little clinical evidence of the health benefits of a gluten-free diet in the general population.
Removing gluten from your diet is likely to change your total intake of fiber, vitamins and other nutrients. Therefore, whatever your reasons for following a gluten-free diet, it is important to know how it can affect your overall nutritional needs.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in foods made from wheat, barley and rye. Oats is a grey area because it contains a protein similar to gluten that some people with coeliac disease tolerate, but others may not.
How does it help to avoid gluten in case of gluten intolerance?
An untreated gluten intolerance means that when gluten is ingested in food, the mucous membrane of the small intestine becomes inflamed and is adversely affected in terms of its ability to absorb nutrients. Individuals with diabetes who have inflammation of the small intestine may get less sugar from the food they eat but take their initial insulin doses which may lead to a fall in blood sugar if doses are not adjusted.
Medical conditions leading to gluten intolerance
- Celiac disease — Celiac disease is a relatively common autoimmune disease, a condition called celiac disease in medical language. People with gluten intolerance who eat gluten develop abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, dizziness, fatigue, rash or headache. In the small intestine, the immune system attacks the protein called gluten. The inflammatory process also leads to the fact that the tissue of the small intestine becomes inflamed and damaged over time.
- Gluten ataxia — Another autoimmune disease called gluten ataxia affects certain nervous tissues and causes problems with muscle control and voluntary muscle movement.
- Wheat allergy — The immune system can develop allergy to wheat just like any other food allergy, the immune system misses gluten or something. Another protein found in wheat as a causative agent, such as a virus or bacteria. The immune system creates an antibody to the protein, which leads to an immune system that attacks wheat.
10 Benefits of Gluten-Free Diet
- Increases cholesterol levels
- Improves the digestive apparatus
- Increases energy levels
- Eliminate unhealthy and processed food
- People eat more fruits and vegetables because it is gluten-free
- Likely reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases your certain cancers and diabetes
- Increases immune system ability to fight infections because your diet contains more antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
- Causes a healthy weight loss
- Improves the condition of individuals with inflammatory bowel disease (IBS) and possibly joint inflammation (arthritis)
- People who follow a gluten-free diet think more about food they eat and unhealthy foods
Who can follow a gluten-free diet?
Other people who may be sensitive to gluten are people with wheat or gluten allergies. Celiac disease is not an allergy.
What foods need to be avoided in a gluten-free diet?
Foods that normally need to be avoided include those made with flour such as bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, bagels, pies, biscuits and cakes. However, some finished foods contain gluten.
Examples of foods that may contain gluten:
- Sausages and processed meat
- Curry dishes
- Prepared meals
- A lot of sauces and dressings
- Also, vitamin supplements may include gluten
In order to help people with gluten sensitivity, packaged foods must indicate whether they contain gluten.
As an alternative to cereals, starch or flour, you can include the following in a gluten-free diet:
- Corn flour
- Glutenfree flour (rice, soy, corn, potatoes, beans) Hominy (corn)
- Tapioka (cassava root)
Oats are naturally gluten-free, but they can be contaminated during production with wheat, barley or rye. Oats and oats products marked gluten-free have not been cross-contaminated. However, some people with celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten-free labelled oats.
Which foods are gluten-free?
You might be asking yourself, right now, “What can I eat?” Since much of the finished food can contain gluten, you may need to eat more homemade food.
Fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, beans, nuts and most dairy products are usually no problem and there are also alternatives with rice and potatoes as gluten-free.
Because gluten intolerance is relatively common (around 150,000 are affected in Sweden), there are a number of specific gluten-free products, such as gluten-free bread and gluten-free flour.
Alcoholic beverages made from natural gluten-free ingredients, such as grapes or berries, can be labelled gluten-free. An alcoholic beverage made from a gluten-containing grain can carry a label stating that the drink was “processed”, “treated” or “created” to remove gluten. However, the label must state that the gluten content cannot be determined and that the drink may contain little gluten.
How does a gluten-free diet affect blood sugar levels?
Usually people with diabetes who follow a gluten-free diet should not experience any major change in blood sugar levels. In some cases, insulin requirements tend to increase in gluten-free diets, one should be aware that gluten-free products still contain carbohydrates and calories, this can still lead to weight gain and increased blood sugar levels.
Diabetes and gluten intolerance
The relationship between gluten and diabetes differs depending on the type of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes is associated with celiac disease because they are both autoimmune conditions. People with diabetes and celiac disease should avoid gluten.
- Type 2 diabetes is not an autoimmune condition and has no connection with celiac disease.
Side effects of a gluten-free diet?
Nutrition deficiency can be a potential side effect when following a gluten-free diet. As a result, your doctor may need to prescribe dietary supplements or prescribe gluten-free products to avoid nutritional deficiencies.
It is difficult to distinguish between the cause of nutritional deficiencies in gluten intolerance, possibly that it is a combination of inflammation in the intestine while eating habits affect.