Ask the experts… Is there a connection between coeliac disease and diabetes?

Diabetes sugar disease ill illness healthy health doctorQ Is there a connection between coeliac disease and diabetes?

When you’re diagnosed with coeliac disease it’s tempting to find out lots more about it.  One of the first things you may discover is that it’s an auto immune disorder, which
in turn leads you to research that as well. It’s then you may discover this covers diabetes (as well as a range of other conditions).

So what are the facts? According to Coeliac UK, between 4-9% of people with coeliac disease also have diabetes, and the majority are diagnosed with diabetes first. It’s worth noting that this is only for Type 1 diabetes and not Type 2, for which coeliacs have no increased risk.

Therefore, not only is there a small chance of coeliacs also having diabetes, but also that you’d probably know about it before your coeliac diagnosis.

Should you find you are in the minority of people who have both diabetes and coeliac disease, the good news according to Coeliac UK is that adhering to a gluten-free diet actually helps control your symptoms and reduce complications, which gives you an added incentive to follow your gluten-
free diet.

The best help to keep you healthy is to visit a registered dietitian for advice on how to manage your diet – you should be referred for free by your doctor.

About our expert:

Ali Walsh - The Bristol Bakehouse 2Ali Walsh was diagnosed with coeliac disease nearly 20 years ago, at a time when free-from food was scarce. She started her own cake business because there was a lack of fresh gluten-free cake on offer. Ali feels if you can’t eat a particular food, you shouldn’t feel deprived, and has created recipes so delectable that even people without dietary requirements clamour for her bakes. A regular on BBC radio, Ali often advises on managing diets.

Do you need help with your free-from cooking, or do you have a nutritional query? Email your question to