Gluten Free For Diabetics
If you notice the labels and other related information on various food items that are available in grocery stores or even in online stores, you will often come across gluten-free labels. There are thousands of diabetic patients who are perhaps paranoid when it comes to eating food items that have gluten in it. They certainly look for a quality gluten free diabetic diet.
The question that comes to our mind is whether diabetics should stay away from food items that have gluten in it. Let us try and find an answer to this and get to know more about the meaning and scope of gluten so that it will give us a better idea about diets that are gluten free for diabetics.
What exactly is Gluten?
For an average person, it would be enough to know that gluten is a type of protein. It is found in certain types of grains. These grains include rye, wheat and barley. Gluten is not considered good for those who have inflammation and other such problems. This is because Gluten is known to result in inflammation as far as the small intestine is concerned. People with celiac disease are asked to keep away from gluten. People with celiac disease who make gluten a part of their daily diet may suffer from various types of symptoms and these include:
- Abdominal cramps and pain.
- Flatulence and gas
- Joint and knee pain
- Muscle pains
- Different types of skin problems and conditions.
Hence, it is important for celiac disease patients to be careful about the use of gluten in their daily food habits. Now the question that comes to mind is whether such patients, who also suffer from diabetes should go in for a sugar free diet? While staying away from gluten is recommended, it may not always be possible to stay away from sugar or glucose. Even diabetic patients need energy and therefore they need to look for some high carbs foods that come with a low Glycemic Index.
Foods with low glycemic index help in raising the blood sugar levels gradually. It prevents sudden and unhealthy spikes in blood sugar levels. Foods that come with a low glycemic index take time to get absorbed and digested and therefore the sugar levels tend to be lower. Diabetic patients are also advised to stay away from refined sugars because they come with a very high glycemic index.
Many people also suffer from a condition known as NCGS which actually stands for Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. Those who suffer from NCGS may not experience the same symptoms associated with Celiac disease. As mentioned above, celiac disease causes inflammation of the small intestine. However, people suffering from NCGS report gluten intolerance that is milder. However, this can cause mental and physical problems.
They should also try and stay away from a category of carbohydrates known as FODMAPs. These are carbohydrates that are fermentable. They also have the capability to cause mental and physical problems. It could also lead to depression and incoherent thinking in some people.
Is There A Connection Between Diabetes And Gluten?
Celiac disease impacts perhaps 1 in 100 people but 10% of people with type one diabetes also suffer from celiac disease. This is as per the reports and studies conducted by ADA or the American Diabetes Association. Hence, researchers believe that there could be a link between type one diabetes and celiac disease. You should look for some biomarkers in the blood that could expose you more to the risk of celiac disease. These people may also stand a higher risk of being affected by type one diabetes. This is because both these conditions have a few things in common.
Both celiac disease and type one diabetes lead to inflammation. This causes the body to attack its own immune system, cells, organs and tissues. These could include pancreas and the intestines. However, at the same time, we need to understand that researchers have not been able to identify any link between type two diabetes and celiac disease.
Carbohydrates and Gluten
Many high-carb foods are also rich sources of gluten. This is because most of the high carb foods are grain-based. It is a known fact that high-carb has the capacity to increase blood sugar. Therefore if you are a type 1 diabetic patient, you must be careful about the quality and quantity of high-carb foods that you are consuming. While buying grain based foods, be doubly careful about the gluten related labels that are often found in such food items. Ensure that the food items that you buy have a gluten-free label. If you don’t find one, you can safely assume that these foods have some amount of gluten in them.
Gluten is mostly found in beer, baked goods, pastas, and various types of snack items. A person with celiac disease or NCGS needs only a small amount of gluten to develop intolerance, inflammation and other related problems. Therefore, such patients should be careful and avoid foods that even have small amounts of gluten in it.
How to identify Gluten Free For Diabetics Diet?
So if you are suffering from celiac disease or NCGS along with type one diabetes, you must look for the right diabetes friendly diet. If you look around and do some research, you will be able to come across dozens of such options. We are happy to list down a few of them for the benefit of our readers.
Many diabetic patients are under the belief that switching over to a gluten-free diet means that they would be away from carbohydrates. This is wrong because there are a number of alternatives that may be gluten-free but also have the required easy to digest and burn carbohydrates. In other words, these are carbohydrates with a low glycemic index.
However, there are many gluten-free products that come with added sugars or refined sugars. You have to be careful about these foods and you must spend some time reading the labels carefully. Look for gluten free carbohydrates that also have a high content of fiber. This will prevent rapid absorption of the carbs, leading to a sudden spike in blood sugar.
The Final Word
If you are free from NCGS or celiac disease, you do not have a problem. There is no need for us to follow a diet that is gluten-free. However, if you have diabetes along with celiac disease you must stay away from gluten-free food items. You will avoid inflammation and other related symptoms that are common both in celiac disease and also for those who suffer from type 1 diabetes.