This is a period of awareness about Healthy eating which is a necessity for Healthy living. Congratulations to all advocates and persons living with Diabetes all over the World in the awareness activities of International Diabetes Federation championed World Diabetes Day.Nov.14th .
The theme of this years’ campaign was centered on healthy eating, this triggers a lot of questions and answers about what contribute healthy eating. The importance of fiber in meal planning for persons living with Diabetes cannot be overemphasized, thus many Diabetes Educators and other allied professionals advice on use of cereals particularly wheat as a good source of fiber, others recommend barley, oats, rye, millet amongst others. These are indeed good source of dietary fibers, however one worries about the actual benefits of this individual fibers to those recommended for that is the person living with Diabetes.
In my interactions and discuss with persons living with Diabetes, they tend to eat certain cereals because they were advised not that they like it, while some tolerate certain symptoms with no confirmed diagnosis.
Gluten a mixture of plant proteins found in most cereals like wheat, rye, barley in varied amounts can cause inflammation of the small intestine in people with Celiac disease (Malabsorption syndrome). The Gliaden fraction of Gluten contained in normal diet is enough to cause sensitivity to a person living with celiac disease. Symptoms includes: Abdominal pain, Diarrhoea, Gas, Anemia, Joint and muscle pain, Skin conditions and fatigue. Gluten free diet for the rest of one’s life is mostly recommended.
Living with Diabetes can be quite challenging especially if you are on Carbohydrate counting. If you are not living with celiac disease and also non-celiac gluten insensitive, you don’t need to adhere to ‘Gluten free diet’. However, if you are living with Diabetes and celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitive, you need to absolutely stick to “Gluten free products” as this is the only means of avoiding the damage by Gluten even in little quantity.
Non gluten Starchy carbohydrates includes:
- White and Sweet potatoes
- Brown and Wild Rice
- Corn - Soy - Beans
- Quinoa - Sorghum
Gluten and Diabetes:
Studies show 1 in 100 people are living with Celiac disease , similarly 10% of people with type 1 Diabetes have celiac disease. Research suggests some genetic links between celiac disease and type 1 Diabetes. Both conditions have inflammatory components which cause the immune system to attack its body tissues or organs namely the intestine and Pancreas. There appears to be no connections between celiac disease and type 2 Diabetes, though both can occur in an individual, in which case one must be careful about meal plan. Gluten free diet may also be of benefit in persons with Dermatitis herpetiformis.
All it takes for a person with celiac disease or non-celiac disease gluten sensitive to have a reaction is a small amount of Gluten. Hence it is important to watch out for “Gluten Free” label on most cereals products especially pastas, baked foods, beer and Snacks.
1. Olson GB,Gallo SR. Gluten in pharmaceutical and nutritional products. Am J Hosp Pharm 1983;40:121-2
2. Martindale Extra pharmacopoeia 31st Edition Pg. 1711-2.
Expert Trainer (Diabetes Conversation MapTm).www.diabetesguidenigeria.blogspot.com