Diabetes and Celiac Disease (continued)
Gluten is the common name for proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley. People with celiac disease must avoid gluten for their whole life. Even a small amount of gluten is thought to be potential risk for the patient. Gluten is found in many common American foods, such as flour, therefore it is in cookies, crackers, cakes, bread (white or whole-wheat), bagels, and cereals. In addition, there are also hidden sources of gluten in foods like soy sauce, salad dressings, lunch meats, and many more foods. Label reading becomes very important for a person with celiac disease. Just as a person with diabetes is told to see a registered dietitian who specializes in diabetes (CDE), a person diagnosed with celiac disease should see a registered dietitian specializing in gastrointestinal diseases, including celiac disease.
When my doctor gave me the news that I had celiac disease, I remember sitting in my office thinking of how my life would change and what favorite foods I would never be able to eat again. But, I've come to learn that there are many gluten-free substitute foods, such as gluten-free crackers, bread, cereals, etc., that taste good and can be found in some local grocery stores. Just like diabetes, celiac disease definitely creates some challenges, hassles, and major changes in your life, and I've always been straightforward with my patients about that. But, I've often told my patients with diabetes — "Nobody wants diabetes, but you have it, it can be controlled and sometimes it makes you healthier. Many people start a living a healthier lifestyle that includes a healthier diet." This healthy lifestyle change might not have been occurred if they didn't get diabetes.
1. Peter Green. Celiac Disease, A Hidden Epidemic. HarperCollins Publishers, 2006.
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