The Diabetes and Celiac Diet

You think it's tough counting carbs? Throw in a second, food-restricting disease, and the challenge is on.

By Christine Luff

Celiac DiseaseAll people with type 1 diabetes have to pay close attention to diet, but those who also have celiac disease need to be extra vigilant. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the protein gluten (found in wheat, barley, and rye, and sometimes in oats) causes a person's immune system to attack and damage the small intestine. People with type 1 diabetes have a higher risk of celiac disease, and about 8 to 10 percent of people with type 1 diabetes also have celiac disease. Symptoms of the disease are generally gastrointestinal -- bloating, gas, and diarrhea -- but not everyone gets them. Because it interferes with the body's ability to absorb nutrients, celiac disease also can cause weight loss and fatigue. Early diagnosis is key.

There's no cure for celiac disease, but people can manage it by eliminating gluten from their diet. People with diabetes have additional challenges in going gluten-free, but a healthy diet for blood-sugar management can easily be made into a gluten-free diet with some careful shopping and substituting. The following pages offer some tips for managing this disease duo


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Last Modified Date: July 08, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.
  1. American Diabetes Association. Celiac Disease: Wheat Ails You? (Accessed February 26, 2008)
  2. American Diabetes Association. Wheat Me, Worry? (Accessed February 27, 2008)
  3. Interview with Larry C. Deeb, M.D., immediate past president of the American Diabetes Association. Conducted February 29, 2008.
  4. Lazzarotto, Francesca, M.D., et al. 2002. Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease: Overview and Medical Nutrition Therapy. Diabetes Spectrum 15:197-201, 2002. (Accessed February 26, 2008)
  5. Mayo Clinic. Celiac Disease: Self-Care. (Accessed February 27, 2008)

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