New Research Indicates that a Gluten-Free Diet May Help Alleviate Diabetic Symptoms

By Zach

Dealing with a serious health condition is complex, as people with celiac disease know, but there’s usually some kind of compromise or solution. Diabetes is definitely one of America’s most urgent and wide spread of these issues. Though the politics of diabetes are controversial, there’s hardly any room for debate about the direct correlation between unhealthy diets and diabetes. Certainly heredity plays a significant factor, but it’s not an end-all-be-all fate.

The direness of diabetes hasn’t always been an epidemic in America. Just over the last ten years diabetes in teens age 12 to 19 have rapidly increased, which is unfortunate for many reasons, but also because symptoms are more difficult to treat in children.

Based on Americans’ overconsumption of processed ingredients and fast foods over the last decade, it’s no wonder there’s been an influx of diabetes and harshness of diabetic symptoms. Researches and experts have been trying to find ways to alleviate diabetic symptoms and they may have found a new prospect, a gluten-free diet.

So what do diabetes and a gluten-free diet have in common? Researchers are finding conclusive evidence that a gluten-free diet without dairy might be a positive aspect for diabetic symptoms.

According to The New York Times, 1 out of every 4 adolescents has either diabetes or pre-diabetes, which is not juvenile diabetes, but the full-blown Type 2 Diabetes. Experts propose that approximately 10% of people with Type 1 Diabetes also have celiac disease. Specialists also infer that roughly 15% of people in America have some form of gluten intolerance.

A certain study, in particular, compared Type 2 diabetics on a the pre-historic man Paleo diet (consisting of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seafood and lean meats instead of dairy, grains, and salt) versus the Mediterranean diet, which consists of practically the same foods except it tolerates unrefined grains and a little bit of dairy.

The results of the experiment indicated only a sliver of improvements in regards to diabetic symptoms for the Mediterranean patients, however, the analysis with the Paleo patients demonstrated a positive turn around in diabetic symptoms.

When focusing on carbohydrate consumption, the Mediterranean-tested group displayed a 7% lower rise in glucose and the Paleo-tested group experienced a 26% decrease in glucose, which ultimately gave them a normal glucose level by the end of the experiment.

Unfortunately, this is all of the information out on the subject right now and it’s a bit muddy in regards to specific details.

I’m sure you’re thinking that these statistics and studies don’t really prove a lot or are of any good service to the gluten-free community. It’s true, to some degree. A few observations testing a few different variables doesn’t necessarily prove that a gluten-free diet is going to radically enhance diabetic side effects or bring much convenience to celiacs. Nevertheless, the fact that doctors, researchers and a portion of the medical community are implementing gluten-free practices into their studies does imply a culture that is slightly more aware of celiac disease and gluten-free necessities, which could lead to advancements down the road.


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10 thoughts on “New Research Indicates that a Gluten-Free Diet May Help Alleviate Diabetic Symptoms”

  1. I find this statement “1 out of every 4 adolescent has either diabetes or pre-diabetes, which is not juvenile diabetes, but the full-blown Type 2 Diabetes” extremely confusing, as “juvenile diabetes”, also known as Type 1 is also a “full-blown” disease. Your statement makes it sound like “juvenile diabetes” (a phrase almost no one in the D community uses anymore) is a junior form of the “bigger” Type 2 Diabetes. Does the gluten free diet alleviate symptoms in both people with Type 1 and people with Type 2? And exactly what symptoms is it alleviating. By symptoms you seem to mean glucose level only. Could you give information on this study? Who conducted it and when? Why not cite the source of the information? Your article needs more information and more clear writing overall. :-(

  2. Like the other comment I am disappointed with the choice of words of “juvenile diabetes”. Yes Type 2 diabetes is much more common in the US and worldwide, but the fact that T1D and celiac are both autoimmune disorders, and that celiac occurs at a much higher rate in the T1 community than in the T2 or normal community would I believe deserve at least a more complete explanation, if not it’s own post.

    As someone who has both T1D and celiac I am constantly amazed at the number of comments I receive when people discover that I am a diabetic, “Oh I would have never guessed you are not over weight!” because the media and websites do not do a good job of differentiating between the two. I just wish they (the T2’s) would find another name for their problems!

  3. My dad is a type 1 diabetic, diagnosed at 10 years old. It’s all I’ve known growing up. Since my Celiac diagnosis, we been even more aware of food issues. I am often frustrated by the lack of specificity when people talk about diabetes. My dad has never been over weight, his pancreas just doesn’t function. As I began reading this article, I quickly realized that it was more directly referring to type 2 diabetes, which (selfishly) may not have interested me as much. It would really impress me to see more articles identifying the actual form of diabetes throughout the article, rather than just in a paragraph in the middle.

  4. I agree with Jonathan. I too hear the same “you’re not overweight, how are you a diabetic?” comments. It’s very frustrating. I agree that a separate name needs to be implemented for these two diseases. It would also help if shows like Dr. Oz, and other media sources of course, would differentiate between the two types when discussing diabetes. If I have one more person tell me, a type 1 diabetic with celiac disease, how to cure myself with diet and exercise I’m going to scream.

  5. While the Paleo diet is pretty sure to be gluten free, how you could make a statement linking a gluten free diet with the research cited is beyond me. The gluten free diet most often maintained by celiacs and gluten sensitive people is full of foods NOT allowed on the Paleo diet. Our stores are full of processed, sugary foods, full of refined starches and GF flours, certified GlutenFree. Most of the recipes in our cookbooks concentrate on breads, cookies, cakes and other decidedly non-Paleo foodstuffs. I’d be curious how many people push themselves over into a diabetic state after their diagnosis with celiac disease! What we should tell people at diagnosis is follow a Paleo or Mediterranean style diet, and once in a while treat yourself with a gluten free bread or goody.

  6. As a Celiac ( 3 year diagnosis) AND Type 1 diabetic for the past 30 years (I’m twice that old now!), I joined the Paleo program this past January. I’ve lost 26 pounds, and have decreased both my short-acting and long-acting insulin by at least 30%-40%. I feel great, and don’t have sweet cravings any longer, and never feel like I’m on a “diet.”

  7. “According to the New York Times…” You cite the New York Times for for epidemiological data. Is the New York Times now a reputable scientific source of information? Please reference sources of information from reputable scientific journals.

  8. Why did they equate every gluten-free diet with the paleo diet? Those of us with Celiac disease probably should be on the paleo diet, but usually we adopt gluten-free grains to replace gluten-containing grains. I think they should directly promote the paleo diet instead of trying to say that any GF diet is going to work to treat diabetes effectively. Apparently the typical GF diet is NOT what was studied. Terrible reporting.

  9. For what it is worth and it is worth a lot to me — going on a gluten free diet (a healthy one – without all of the refined sugars) got me off of my diabetes medication (metformin). When I went further — with the paleo diet — getting off of all grains and dairy, etc. I was also able to get off of my high blood pressure medication. Upon a diagnosis of celiac, I immediately eliminated gluten but other changes were made slowly and meticulously. I have found very acceptable substitutions for things I can’t eat and truly do not feel deprived at all. I just returned from a 10 day stay in NYC. We used the gluten free restaurant book as a jumping off point to make sure there were restaurants available in the areas we were going to be in – went directly to websites and printed out menus to make sure there were grain free choices — and then proceeded to have a great time not worrying about where we were going to eat. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any way of eating that does not require due diligence on the part of the person embarking on the journey. I have made my share of mistakes. I hope individuals going on a gluten free diet and/or a paleo diet will go beyond their initial efforts and grow into the healthy versions that help them battle their medical issues.

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