With one in three Americans on a limited gluten or gluten-free diet, many with diabetes wonder if this is a way of life they should embrace.

According to Businessweek, the consumption of wheat is at a 22-year low; Americans are avoiding it like the plague.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley - which go by many confusing names on ingredient lists. Gluten is in an incredible amount of foods, especially of the processed variety.

What's so bad about gluten?

If you haven't heard of Wheat Belly or Grain Brain, you're out of the gluten-free loop. Wheat haters blame the grain for widespread obesity and disease. The wheat we consume today has taken the heat for its increased levels of gluten over the wheat we consumed decades ago.

What is celiac disease?

According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness: One percent (1 in 133) of Americans suffer from an autoimmune reaction to gluten; it damages the small intestine and affects food absorption leading to a multitude of health issues and secondary diagnoses. Treatment for celiac disease is a lifelong, strict gluten-free diet.

Why would you avoid gluten with diabetes?

Celiac disease shares a genetic link with Type 1 diabetes (approximately 1 in10 people with Type 1 have celiac). If you live with Type 1 diabetes speak with your practitioner about being tested regularly for celiac disease.

Many people find that avoiding gluten improves diabetes control and consumption of carbohydrates in general. Remember, gluten-free foods aren't always healthy foods; junk food is junk food.

Speak with your health care provider prior to adjusting your diet as it will have an impact on diabetes management and may require medication adjustments.

To learn more about this topic:
Recipe: Black Bean Brownies (Gluten Free and Low Carb)
Recipe: Yummy Low-Carb Pancakes (Gluten-Free)
Recipe: Gluten-Free Banana Muffins