Should I be concerned with the high carbs in a gluten-free diet? I am type 2, and my girlfriend has been pushing "gluten-free." I have told her that gluten free is not necessarily diabetic friendly because of the high carbs. She claims that gluten free processes differently, and that I would lose weight and feel better if I went gluten free. I agree with the gluten-free concept, just don't know how to instill it into my low carb regiment, without affecting my numbers. My current A1c is 6.0.

Amy Campbell


A gluten-free diet is the treatment for celiac disease, a condition whereby the lining of the small intestine is damaged. This damage is a result of foods that contain gluten, a type of protein found in certain grains, such as wheat, rye, barley and possibly oats. As a result of this damage, nutrients can’t be properly absorbed and malnutrition can result, as well as other serious health problems. About one out of every 133 people in the U.S. have celiac, and it’s more common among people who have type 1 diabetes. Gluten sensitivity is another condition that may affect about 10% of the population. Symptoms may be more vague and can include digestive problems, rashes, headaches and fatigue. Unlike with celiac disease, though, the small intestine isn’t damaged. Gluten sensitivity isn’t very well understood at this time. Following a gluten-free diet has become somewhat of a fad lately, with celebrities like Miley Cyrus touting its weight-loss benefits. However, there’s no evidence that a gluten-free diet will help with weight loss or provide any other health benefits, for that matter. If weight loss does occur while following a gluten-free diet, it’s likely because one has cut calories by cutting out most carb foods (like bread, pasta and cereal). Foods that contain gluten are not processed differently, by the way. And gluten-free versions of foods (and there are plenty of them out there) are just as high in calories, carbs and fat as the regular versions. At this time, a gluten-free diet is really only appropriate for people with celiac disease. But if you think you’d like to try it anyway, I’d suggest meeting with a dietitian so that he or she can help ensure that you’re getting the right balance of nutrients for your diabetes and your overall health.

November 27, 2012 at 7:18 am