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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    I have coeliac disease and pre-diabetes - what do I eat & drink?

    Following a major op, I have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes - is this diabetes 1 or 2? I have no idea what to eat or drink as I have coeliac disease, lactose intolerance and sorbitol intolerance - great!!! I am self-employed and often don't get lunch, and don't get to eat dinner until 8.30pm or later at night. Is this a problem with diabetes as I've heard something about needing to eat? Help, I have no idea what to do! To keep myself from fainting, I have been having chocolate during the day, so now I'm lost - I have low blood pressure.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Personally experienced diabetes and coeliac dietitian. Marchini Nutrition is a dietitian service set up to help those with or at risk of diabetes and coeliac … View Profile

    Pre-diabetes is the beginning of type 2 diabetes.  Maintaining a healthy weight will help to slow your progression to type 2 diabetes.  It sounds like you have many questions regarding your diet so I would recommend  you book an appointment for a personalised consultation with an Accredited Practising Dietitan.  You can find  one local to you on the Dietitians Association of Australia ( website.  Please be assured that what you're saying here can be easily managed, but it needs to be talked through properly to provide you the best advice.

  • Peta Adams


    I am an Accredited Practising Dietitian locally born and working within the Riverina.I have a passion for helping people to achieve their nutrition goals, coaching … View Profile

    I definitely agree with Sally you will benefit from seeing a Dietitian to help you plan a diet to suit yuor needs.

    In the mean time trying to work on including some low Gi snacks during the day may help to reduce low BGL and fainting. Try packing small containers of nuts, fruit, lactose free yogourt or Soy beverages (eg Vita soy), or corn cruskits/thins spread with nut spread.

    Even if you are able to fit in a few smaller snacks duriing the day it may help to prevent you feeling unwell and control your blood glucose flucatations.

    Most gluten free ntaurally occuring foods such as those listed above and meat/vegetables are gluten free and also great choices for people with Diabetes.

    Also ensure you have a good balanced breakfast, such as poached/scrambed egg on Low GI Gluten free bread or Gluten free Muesli (no dried fruit) with fruit and lactose free milk/yogurt.

    Try to implement soe of these changes and I reccomend contacting a Dietitian in your area to assist yuo further.

  • Aidan Ma

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    Hello there! I'm sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis, just be assured that there is definitely a healthy and sustainable way to still manage your health requirements.

    To clarify your questions

    1. Pre-Diabetes - this is not either Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes (although it can progress into a type of Diabetes). This basically means your blood glucose levels are higher than the average individual and puts you at an increased risk of developing Diabetes (most likely Type 2 in this case).

    2. Coelic Disease - As you are probably aware, you must follow a strict gluten free diet for life. However there are plenty of gluten free foods these days, it is in fact the booming product range at the present! However as reading labels for detecting gluten unfortunately isn't rocket science, I would highly recommend seeing an Accredited Practising Dietitian for further advice on this. Lots of foods are naturally gluten free such as all fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, poultry, eggs, fish, nuts, legumes, lactose free milk, oils and a number of gluten free grains (eg arrowroot, buckwheat, chickpea, coconut, lentil, millet, potato, quinoa, rice, sago, soy and tapioca). 

    3. Lactose intolerance - Lactose is present in dairy products and is highest in cow's milk, milk powder's, ice-cream and custard. It is also found in soft cheeses, yoghurt and sour cream however to a lesser extent. Research suggests even people with lactose intolerance can tolerate  a small amount of lactose in foods - approx 1/2 cup of milk. Again there is a good lactose free product range out there, have a good look around.

    4. Sorbitol intolerance - Sorbitol is found in apples, apricots, blackberries, nashi pears, nectarines, peaches, pears and plums. It is also found present in artificial sweetners - namely sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and isomalt. Have a good look through the ingredient list of processed foods & drinks to ensure they are clear of these sweetners.

    I know it seems like you are dealing with a number of restrictions but believe me you can make this work. Have faith in yourself and seek appropriate help. I would highly recommended to make time to have lunch - very important meal that keeps you going for the second half of the day. 

    It is detrimental to your blood glucose control if you are skipping meals or going long periods of time without eating (could also cause feelings of fainting/dizziness). This is because you are more likely to have a larger meal and therefore a larger carbohydrate load which will spike your glucose levels higher than if you ate smaller regular meals and snacks. Plus eating more regularly (every 3-4 h) provides your bloodstream with a more regular dose of glucose which you can use for energy that keeps you going during the day.

    Hope that helps.

    Aidan Ma
    DNA Dietitians

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