How can I safely follow a gluten-free diet if I have diabetes?

Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics
Following a gluten-free diet may present additional challenges when blood sugar management is also a concern. However, a healthy diet that incorporates all of the food groups while eliminating gluten is achievable. A gluten-free meal may consist of a large portion of non-starchy vegetables, a serving of lean protein, and a small serving of brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa or another gluten free grain or legume. When buying gluten free products at your grocery store, make sure to check the label; some gluten-free foods may be more calorie and carbohydrate dense than their wheat alternatives.
It is still very important for people with diabetes who follow a gluten-free diet to count their carbs and take insulin/medications in balance with their carbs. Continue to follow your diabetes meal plan but replace foods that have gluten with other healthy carbohydrate sources.

Be aware that some gluten-free products that you buy in the store will have a different amount of carbohydrate than the usual product (for example, a piece of gluten-free bread is usually higher in carbohydrate than whole wheat bread). It is very important to check the serving size and the number of carbs in each serving size.

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.