How does one deal with the coeliac condition and diabetes?
Between five and ten per cent of patients with Type 1 (insulindependent) diabetes are also affected by the coeliac condition. In order to treat these two diseases together, it is necessary to maintain a vigilant diet, but one that does not need to be highly restrictive. Today, in fact, the diabetic, either with or without an associated coeliac condition, is advised to maintain a normal diet with regard to both the total caloric content and the level of protein, sugars, and fats. In order to avoid a spike in blood sugar levels after meals, it is recommended to favour complex carbohydrates (bread and pasta that is, of course, gluten-free) and foods that are rich in fibre (vegetables, pulses, and fresh fruit) over those that are high in sugar (sweets), which may be consumed but in moderation. With regard to fats, it is best to select those of vegetable origin (such as extra-virgin olive oil and sunflower oil) and those rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (such as anchovies, sardines, and mackerel) for their beneficial effect upon the levels of cholesterol in the blood. Finally, it should be kept in mind that the treatment of the coeliac condition has a very positive effect upon diabetes, both because it helps to improve metabolic control and sometimes even to reduce the need for insulin, and because it helps to prevent possible complications such as anaemia and osteoporosis.