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Gluten-Free Diet Improves Growth and Diabetic Control in Children with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus and Celiac Disease

Arch Dis Child 2004;89:871-876.

Celiac.com 07/12/2005 – Australian researchers have determined that a gluten-free diet in children with Type 1 diabetes mellitus and celiac disease can improve both growth and diabetes control. In the study 21 children (mean age 7.5 years) with both conditions went on a gluten-free diet for 12 months, and their growth and insulin dosages were carefully measured and compared with that of two matched diabetic, non-celiac controls. The group on a gluten-free diet showed significant increases in weight and body mass index compared with the control group, although an increase in height found in the study was not found to be significant. At the time of diagnosis insulin dosages for the celiac disease group were less than that of the control group, but became similar to the controls once a gluten-free diet was started—although the increase in insulin dosage had no effect on HbA1c levels.

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The researchers conclude: “Identification and dietary treatment of celiac disease in children with diabetes improved growth and influenced diabetic control. Evaluation of the outcome of treatment of celiac disease in diabetics should include assessments of gluten intake.” Obviously all children (and everyone) with celiac disease should be on a gluten-free diet, but what is noteworthy about this study is that a connection was found between insulin levels, diabetes control, and the gluten-free diet.

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