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The Diabetes Connection

Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease hold a significant connection. Both are autoimmune diseases that share a genetic link because they fall on the same chromosome. Often, when a person has one disease, there is a higher potential for developing the other disease. The incidence of Americans with Type 1 diabetes also developing celiac disease can range from 6 to 15 percent, while the incidence of people with celiac disease developing Type 1 diabetes is between 4 to 6 percent.

The symptoms of celiac disease, which can be masked or silent in a person with Type 1 diabetes, also can add difficulty. Because of this, it is recommended that people with Type 1 diabetes get screened for celiac disease.

In 2009, a research team, headed by Dr. Fraiser Scott, screened 42 patients with Type 1 diabetes and found that nearly half showed an abnormal immune response to wheat proteins. Since autoimmune diseases, such as Type 1 diabetes, are a result of the body not being able to distinguish a foreign protein from itself, the autoimmune reaction attacks the body, in this case the cells in the pancreas which are responsible for sugar regulation. Dr. Scott’s results offer the first suggestions that T-cells in the immune systems of Type 1 diabetics are also more likely to have adverse immune reactions to wheat. His results also suggest that such over-reaction is tied to genes associated with Type 1 diabetes. This would make sense since they are linked to the same chromosome.

In the first multi-country-population-based study of its kind, Danish researchers have found that around 1 in 8 children with Type 1 diabetes also have celiac disease, and of these the prevalence of stunted growth is abnormally high. Again, just another bit of data that would cause doctors to screen children with Type 1 diabetes for celiac disease.

I find the subject of autoimmune diseases fascinating and will dedicate a good portion of my Newsletters on this topic next year. For now, here is a great recipe using the Challah recipe that I gave you a few weeks ago. With just a sprinkling of powdered sugar on top, this breakfast is very low in sugar.

Gluten Free French Toast

Ingredients:
12 slices of Gluten Free Challah (see recipe from 8/3/10)
3 eggs
3 T vanilla rice milk
1 t cinnamon sugar
1 t vanilla
Powdered sugar as garnish

Directions:
In a small bowl, mix eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla.
Pour into a shallow dish to use as a vat for dipping the bread.
Cut one loaf of gluten free bread into 12, ½ inch slices.
Dip two pieces of bread in the egg/milk mixture.
Preheat a large nonstick 10 inch skillet on the stove top.
Fry bread on both sides until golden brown.
Remove from pan and serve with powdered sugar.

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