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Can Gluten-Free Diet Cause Diabetes Or High Sugar Results?

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I'm not sure that I am posting in the correct forum or not, but...I have been gluten and dairy free for about 2 years now. I'm self-diagnosed as intolerant after having had a colon resection 4 yrs. ago and experiencing increasing difficulties since then. I've read a lot and educated myself a lot since that time and don't need a "certificate" to tell me what my body already knows. I cannot tolerate gluten & dairy products without bloating, horrid gas, diarrhea, and minimal cramping.

My question is this: my blood test results are approaching the questionable range for diabetes (105 last week). I try to be pretty good about eating healthfully, but since switching from whole wheat/whole grains to gluten-free flours (even though some are whole grains), I wonder if this can account for this increase in my blood sugars and throw me then into diabetes? I know that I now eat too many carbs (I cook my own foods-not packaged stuff)especially when I don't have something cooked to eat...especially gluten-free bread. I am 69 years old with hypertension, hyperlipidemia, & arthritis (all well-controlled with meds) and I'm not obese although I could stand to lose 20-25 pounds. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

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After 2 years gluten-free. I went in and asked for an oral glucose tolerance test because I was still more fatigued than I wanted to be and knew that the OGTT would provide a very good picture of where I was at. I walked out with a diabetes DX. Those of us with celiac disease are more at risk for autoimmune diabetes-T1 and T1.5. Some who go gluten-free report a reversal of blood sugar issues, while others like myself have no such luck. I am insulin deficient, there is not much room for getting insulin producing capacity back. If you are overweight and insulin resistance is a problem, then weight loss can help that as well as meds like Glucophage. You want to stay away from any meds that cause the pancreas to push out more insulin, that will just burn out your pancreas.

What does that number represent? A fasting blood sugar? Any one-time blood sugar number does not have much meaning. You really want to test before a meal, a at 1 hr. after that meal and at 2 hrs. after the meal, that will show what impact your meals have. You want to sty under 140 at all times. 140 is the number at which damage starts to occur in tissues. The best way to manage blood sugar IMHO is a low-carbohydrate diet.

Here is a good site that explains what all the numbers mean and what targets to set for good health. Most docs wait too long to DX so be informed and advocate for yourself. http://bloodsugar101.com/ This can be very manageable but it is key to catch and manage it as early as possible.

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To answer your question, I don't believe that gluten-free diet or the change in carbs will cause diabetes. If you have impaired tolerance for glucose(which carbs are turned into) then an increase in carbs, especially rapidly processed carbs will cause more of a strain on your system. Not all carbs are created equal, there are the refined carbs (gluten-free or not)white things-rice flour, white potatoes, sugar etc., the whole grains are more slowly digested so will hit the blood stream more slowly, however for some who have more impairment, they are still too carby, then there are starchy vegetables and finally low-carbohydrate veggies, which have the least impact on blood sugar. Things like nuts have carbs but have less impact on blood sugar, which is why some who manage blood sugar with a low-carbohydrate diet use almond meal and flax meal as their sole flour in baking. Coconut flour is also used.

The human body, in general has a limited ability to process carbs so overloading in quantity or quality will eventually lead to impairment in many people.

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To answer your question, I don't believe that gluten-free diet or the change in carbs will cause diabetes. If you have impaired tolerance for glucose(which carbs are turned into) then an increase in carbs, especially rapidly processed carbs will cause more of a strain on your system. Not all carbs are created equal, there are the refined carbs (gluten-free or not)white things-rice flour, white potatoes, sugar etc., the whole grains are more slowly digested so will hit the blood stream more slowly, however for some who have more impairment, they are still too carby, then there are starchy vegetables and finally low-carbohydrate veggies, which have the least impact on blood sugar. Things like nuts have carbs but have less impact on blood sugar, which is why some who manage blood sugar with a low-carbohydrate diet use almond meal and flax meal as their sole flour in baking. Coconut flour is also used.

The human body, in general has a limited ability to process carbs so overloading in quantity or quality will eventually lead to impairment in many people.

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missy'smom: Thanks so much for your informative and helpful replies. I have looked at the link you provided and undertstand some of it, but will need more time to process more of it. My 105 reading was a fasting test and my doctor told me that I need to come in and have an AI test now. I believe that she is on top of this early, but I will not accept a diagnosis of diabetes without the other, more involved test.

This was the first time my score has ever been at or over 100, although it's always hovered in the 90's. I do understand what the "white" food items do to blood sugar which is why I questioned my gluten-free starches/carbs which now seem to consist of white rice, tapioca flour, etc.

Thanks again for all of your help.

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You're welcome.

An A1c will give helpful data too. Blood sugar is a funny thing sometimes. Mine can be perfectly normal fasting-80's or low-mid.90's but go up close to 300 depending on what I eat. The Ogtt showed that. That's why I always say the more data the better.

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Even while trying to limit your carb intake, you might want to switch to gluten-free brown rice pasta (like Tinkyada), for example. Annie Chun even makes brown rice noodles. They take a little while to get used to, but I think you'll love them before long. That way you can avoid the more refined gluten-free carbs...Good luck!

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It sounds like you are well on your way to metabolic syndrome (cluster of high risk elements that point to seriously increased risk of diabetes and heart disease). Once you get the HbA1c, that will help clarify whether you are definitely pre-diabetic, diabetic, or just hoovering on that edge.

A gluten-free diet can increase your risk for type two diabetes DEPENDING on what you eat. So, yeah, my diet has shifted to slightly more diabetogenic because of the white rice flour and starches I use in baking where I would have used whole wheat and oat flour previously. Slowly digested carbs are better if you are at risk for diabetes. If you had replaced breads and such with lentils and vegetables, or lean proteins, your gluten-free diet would be less diabetogenic.

You can definitely still change your diet to reverse pre-diabetes. Tight control of carbs, usually, and restricting the types of carbs. Get a referral to an RD if you can-- elevated glucose should get you one. If not, come back and PM me and we'll chat a bit. Cinnamon supplements are also well-recognized and effective for some people.

Good luck!

p.s. I'm from WV!

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