Clinical and Metabolic Effects of Gluten Free Diet in Children With Type 1 Diabetes and Coeliac Disease

Pediatr Diabetes. 2011 Jun;12(4 Pt 1):322-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-5448.2010.00700.x. Epub 2011 Mar 29.


Background: Following the recommendations of The International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD) in 2000, our clinic started routine screening of children with type 1 diabetes (T1D) for coeliac disease (CD).

Objectives: To determine the short-term clinical and metabolic effects of gluten free diet (GFD) in a group of children with T1D and confirmed CD.

Methods: Data were collected on all children with T1D and CD between November 2000 and November 2007 before and 12 months after commencement of GFD. Data included the presence of gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, episodes of severe hypoglycaemia, daily insulin requirements, height, weight, body mass index (BMI), glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c), haemoglobin, and persistence of autoantibodies. The effects of GFD on these parameters were studied and compared with those from the revised ISPAD Guidelines in 2007.

Results: Four hundred and sixty-eight children with T1D were screened, of whom 23 patients were diagnosed with CD. The mean age at diagnosis of T1D and CD was 6.8 years and 11.1 years, respectively. Ten out of 11 children showed improvement in their GI symptoms, while 6 out of 8 patients had no further severe hypoglycaemic episodes. Nine patients remained positive for antiendomysial antibodies after GFD. There was no significant change in the standard deviation score for height, weight, and BMI or the mean HbA1c and Hb before and after GFD. However the mean insulin requirement increased from 0.88 to 1.1 units/kg/day, which was statistically significant (p < 0.005).

Conclusion: In our experience, GFD showed short-term benefits by reducing GI symptoms and severe hypoglycaemia while the insulin requirement increased significantly.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biopsy
  • Celiac Disease / complications*
  • Celiac Disease / diagnosis
  • Celiac Disease / diet therapy*
  • Celiac Disease / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy*
  • Diet, Gluten-Free* / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / prevention & control
  • Infant
  • Insulin / administration & dosage*
  • Intestine, Small / pathology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Insulin