How Celiac or gluten sensitivity can lead to Diabetes

Celiac disease and Type 1 diabetes share genetics. They are both autoimmune conditions and are not reversible. Often these conditions go hand in hand. However, type 2 diabetes (T2D) can also develop as a result of celiac disease (CD) or Non-Celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS).

But how does this happen?

The Role of Diet

A change of diet for someone with CD or NCGS can be the major factor for the slow development of diabetes. In order to explain why diet can be the major factor, you first to understand how diabetes develops.

Understanding Diabetes Development

Your body converts carbohydrates from foods containing starch and sugars into glucose. The glucose enters your bloodstream where it can then be transported to the body’s cells to be used as energy. (If you don’t eat enough carbohydrates, your body can use proteins and fats to do this, but carbohydrates are the preferred choice.)
To keep the amount of glucose in your bloodstream level, the pancreas produces a hormone called Insulin which is also released into the bloodstream. Insulin lowers the amount of glucose in the bloodstream by acting as a key, so that the glucose can go from the bloodstream into the body’s cells to be used as energy. When this is working correctly, the blood glucose level stays constant.

Diabetes: A Breakdown of the System

With Diabetes, the blood glucose level is too high. This can be because the pancreas is not making enough insulin or because the insulin is not working properly. When your diet is high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, the pancreas has to release more insulin all the time to try and keep the blood glucose level stable. Over time this causes the cells producing insulin in the pancreas to tire out and so they stop producing as much insulin.
This leads to insulin resistance. The body’s cells actually lock the insulin out. So over time, whether less insulin is being produced or released or both, this causes glucose to stay elevated in the bloodstream. In turn, the body then stores the glucose in tissues as fat. This can cause weight gain.

Managing Type 2 Diabetes

In T2D, medication is normally given to manage the condition. T2D is a condition that CAN be managed with proper attention to diet and lifestyle. A Nutritional Health coach does not treat, cure or diagnose T2D, but can help you make better educated decisions as far as nutrition and lifestyle factors go.

The Connection between CD and T2D

The connection with CD and T2D is when diet change occurs. Gluten-free replacements are often high in sugar and refined carbohydrates. Flours such as those made from potato, tapioca and rice can lead to elevated glucose in the bloodstream. Consuming too many sugary and refined, processed foods can result in insulin resistance which in turn can lead to T2D.

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