Help! Celiac and diabetes

Hi there just wondering if anyone could recommend a staple Grain that has a gi low as barley (~25) that is also gluten free. I’m having a really hard time with this and my blood sugars are going crazy.

I can’t digest beans well and I’m trying to keep protein and fat low. Just wondering if anyone knows of a grain that has a super low gi (buckwheats at 50 but that still too high, looking for something comparable to barley.)

If there’s any way you could help I would really appreciate it. Thank you so much!!!

The quick answer would be “stop trying to keep protein and fats low.”


Why are you trying to keep protein and fat low? If you are on a diet that limits protein and fat then the only macro nutrient left to you is carbs and most of us diabetics have problems with keeping our BG’s stable on high carb diets (although some do manage it). If you are limiting protein you have to watch out for things like iron deficiency because most people get their iron from meat so make sure to eat a lot of parsley or similar veggie that’s got some iron in it.

If you can’t tolerate beans and you have celiacs then you are severely limited in the things you can eat. How about potatoes, turnips, lots of veggies, and berries.

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@Kevonb124 - Have you had blood tests run which show you are not unintentionally getting any trace amounts of gluten?
Upon initial diagnosis, I believe we had labwork run every 3 months. At this point, the Celiac panel labwork is performed once per year - assuming all results come back negative.

The lab tests are very helpful to show where gluten could be still causing digestive damage which certainly would have the potential to impact digestion of other non-gluten types of foods.

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Thank you so much for your answer @firenza I really appreciate the advice. I really appreciate the advice. I saw an article online that said that it’s not really necessary to increase proteins or fats (though for some people it may be?). As long as I’m limiting it to low gi carbs and to maybe 35g of carbs with each of 6 small meals a day I was hoping to be able to manage my BG levels.

Only problem is, with celiac I’m limited to gluten free grains, and --get this-- on top of all that I think I may have a severe sort of celiac (eating any wheat actually causes my throat to close up) where I’m also sensitive to grains that have proteins SIMILAR to gluten (I.e gluten free oatmeal, corn)

So naturally because I’m new to this I went to parboiled rice which is causing me to spike every time I eat even a 1/2 cup. It’s so frustrating!! I’m actually kind of getting depressed from it. I have schizoaffective disorder and the stress of it is causing me to have hallucinations.

Fruits and veggies are great but alone they don’t have enough calories.

Barley is actually perfect, I just can’t eat it cause of celiac. I just don’t get why there doesn’t seem to be another grain like it that has both sufficient calories and a low gi -_-

My guess is that most people can eat barley so the diabetes gi lists don’t really bother to include any other one since even barley itself is uncommon. Increase fat and protein just doesn’t sit right with me

Any ideas at all?

It is not uncommon for people diagnosed with Celiac to be unable to eat oatmeal even that which is certified gluten-free. Some can - some can not.

However an issue with corn would be far outside the norm (from a Celiac point of view). If you have issues with corn then I would highly suggest consultation with a GI doctor. IMHO it would be quite possible there is another issue at play (in addition to the known Celiac) that may need to be addressed.

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Hey @Tim35 I haven’t really noticed a problem with corn, although I haven’t yet tried it as a staple but I’m kinda assuming that it may be the case. I read online that some people just can’t tolerate grains period. I’ve had a bit of trouble with oatmeal though not as bad as wheat (I just get this feeling of coming down with a slight cold).

I’m not really ready to swear off grains forever, though it may be the case that I have to, so thought I’d try on here to see if I could find a barley alternative.

Thank you!

If you are coeliac then you can not have any grains containing gluten, so no idea why you are even thinking of barley.

Look at buckwheat, as that might be a good substitute for you. If cooking it’s amazing what you can do with ground almonds/almond flour. There are also plenty of specialist gluten free flours on the market.

Would the fact you are eating 6 meals a day be a cause of a lot of your problems? As a type1 then surely you must be having to bolus for your meals and I would suspect you would be having issues with insulin stacking. Hope you manage to sort yourself out.

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Worth another consult with a GI. Obviously there can always be multiple issues that need to each have their own protocol and treatment.

Corn just doesn’t fit anything I know about Celiac.

Wheat causing a sudden throat constriction also does not fit what I know about Celiac and we do have what our GI doc has described as an “extreme although not unheard of Celiac reaction”. The throat constriction sounds more like a wheat allergy. Bottom line - if it was me or my family - I would schedule an appointment with a GI and Allergy specialist docs and try to get to the bottom of all of the issues you are seeing with the possibility that it may be multiple issues rather than a single underlying issue that address each of your symptoms.


Thank you very much for the advice sir. I know for certain that it is celiac, but it may also be an allergy. I don’t have the same reaction to corn, I just read online that people who are sensitive to gluten might also have lesser but still relevant troubles with other grains that contain proteins that are similar in structure to gluten.

Seeing a doctor is a good idea but I’m still just looking into managing these illnesses in the meantime. Could take me a month or more to get in to see a specialist so just trying to cope with it in the meantime and finding it difficult

Thank you so much for your help, I know you’ve probably done a ton of research over the years an your input really helps because I know it’ll take some time to learn to manage this

Thank you sue I just found out I have celiac recently and perhaps thyroid issues (runs in the family and when one autoimmune disorder surfaces and goes untreated other issues [diabetes, thyroid] start to surface) and so tested it with barley one more time just to be sure

I have coeliac as well as under active thyroid, Addison’s, MS and type 1 diabetes.

As you have been diagnosed with Coeliac then Barley is a def no no.
Do an internet search for gluten free foods, the diet is easy to adapt to just very time consuming whilst you learn to read all of the labels. If you stick to your diet then you wont have any control issues in that dept.

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As far as I know, celiac affects only the small intestine and not the throat. I agree with @Tim35 that “throat closing up” sounds more like an allergy issue.

I have an allergic/immune condition called eosinophilic esophagitis that causes a reaction in the esophagus that leads to inflammation/swelling upon exposure to certain food allergens. Commonly these are dairy, wheat, eggs, soy, but also often things like corn and rice. It’s diagnosed in a similar way as celiac (biopsy of the esophagus) and is managed by both an allergist and a gastroenterologist. It’s a fairly rare condition, but there is also some sort of link with celiac (having one increases risk of the other), so it might be worth looking up the symptoms in adults and bringing it up with your doctor if you think you may have it. And of course there are also more classic allergic reactions like anaphylaxis, which I also have to other foods. Since “throat closing up” can easily cut off your airway if it progresses too far, and since allergies can change or worsen unpredictably, I would definitely get it checked out if it were me. That is not something you want to let slide only to find one day you can’t breathe.

Have you tried a low-carb, grain-free solution like riced cauliflower? Not quite the same as a grain, but can be used in a similar way and is quite good in its own right. I hope you find something suitable soon. Balancing other dietary restrictions in addition to diabetes (low-carb or low-GI) is definitely challenging!


Thank you so much Jen, this really helps… I think you’re right because now that you mentioned even rice I think they may be the case. Yesterday (as my carbs have been mostly rice recently) I actually noticed that I was even then having trouble breathing. In the past I have noticed this too. In starting to think I may have allergies to all grains (perhaps to a varying degree).

Not sure what to do but from what I’m seeing a low gi vegetable based diet (sweet potatoe, yellow yams, and other tubers, vegetable etc) based diet is seeming best.

Even milk is giving me an upset stomach. I believe I even had this as a youth because I always noticed that I had problems breathing that were transient (I’m supposing when I ate grains).

When I was a toddler I know that I ate a lot of cornmeal porridge and so I wonder if having been introduced to grains at such a young age brought on an allergy (I heard this is common)

A doctor suggested an allergy test but I was too scared to get pricked :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks again @jen because I just kinda remembered that when I was a kid I had an allergic reaction at a carnival where I had corn dogs and popcorn. That may have been the cause

I would definitely see an allergist and/or gastroenterologist (or both).

Allergies are a reaction to the protein in food. While some foods can be cross-reactive, not all grains are, so it would be unusual to simultaneously develop allergies to to all grains. However, like celiac, people with true allergies can react to trace amounts of cross-contamination, so this would probably be the more likely scenario than separate allergies to all grains.

If you think you have allergies, especially involving breathing, you need to see an allergist as your first step. If you have alleriges you will need to find out exactly what you are allergic to, learn how to avoid all cross-contamination with that food, and learn how to treat mild to severe allergic reactions. Eosinophilic esophagitis usually does not involve breathing difficulties; that sounds more like anaphylaxis, which is life-threatening. That is not something to mess around with. I would see an allergist as soon as possible.

There is no “best diet” for people with allergies, because people can be allergic to any food. Potato is supposed to be a “hypoallergenic” food, but I have a life-threatening allergy to potato and would be injecting myself with an epipen and calling an ambulance if I ate a single potato chip.

Recent research shows that early introduction actually helps protect against the development of allergies. But allergies are much like autoimmune conditions. We don’t know what causes them nor how to prevent them.

The prick test is nothing. It’s not even really a “prick” (it does not draw blood). It basically feels like a tickle.

Keep in mind, people with true allergies (not intolerances/sensitivities) react to trace amounts of their allergen. If you were allergic to corn, then more than likely you would react to any processed food you eat, since almost all processed food contains corn. Corn dogs and popcorn, for example, both have butter in them, so someoen allergic to dairy would also react to both. And someone allergic to peanuts could also react to both if they had been prepared in a facility that also used peanuts. It’s a lot more complicated than just avoiding the “obvious” foods (as is celiac).

You cannot self-diagnosed an allergy. An allergy is a medical condition, just like celiac and diabetes. It has certain diagnostic criteria and treatment options. You really need to make an appointment with an allergist if you want to investigate whether you may have allergies.

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Thank you very much Jen I appreciate your help! I don’t know much about this so your suggestions have been very helpful. Thanks again

And I apologize I shouldn’t have said “closes up” it’s not as severe as that. It’s more like it just difficult to breathe so I suppose it’s somewhat of a mild reaction