Type 1 diabetes and Celiac Disease

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that can develop at any age. If someone with celiac disease eats food containing gluten, they may feel sick because gluten causes inflammation in the intestine. This inflammation makes it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients and can affect your growth and overall well-being, so it is important to be tested for celiac disease if you have type 1 diabetes.

What is gluten and where is it found?

Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, rye, and barley. These grains can be found in foods that you probably eat every day, like cereal, bread, pasta, pizza, and cookies. Many processed foods and personal care products also contain hidden sources of gluten.

Although gluten is found in many of the foods that you eat, gluten itself is not an essential part of your diet.

What is the CD-DIET study about?

The Celiac disease and Diabetes – Dietary Intervention and Evaluation Trial (CD-DIET) is a screening and dietary intervention study led by The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). SickKids is offering a blood test to determine whether you or your child have celiac disease. The goal of our study is to improve our understanding of the treatment options available to people living with both type 1 diabetes and celiac disease.

How do I qualify for the study?

If you have type 1 diabetes, have not been tested for celiac disease within the past 2 years, and are between the ages of 8 and 45, you are eligible to be screened for celiac disease.

Why are we doing this study?

We are interested in screening patients with type 1 diabetes because 5%–7% of type 1 diabetics will develop celiac disease. Testing for celiac disease is not routinely offered in many pediatric and adult health care settings. In some cases, you might have celiac disease yet not experience any of the symptoms that most people with celiac disease commonly do. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, anemia, low bone density, unexplained weight loss, and poor growth. If you do not have symptoms, a blood test is the only way that you and your doctor can find out whether you have celiac disease.

What are the benefits of participating in this study?

Once you or your child are screened, we will know whether the test for celiac disease is positive. You will also benefit from an accurate and definite diagnosis. This is important because celiac disease is often undiagnosed or sometimes misdiagnosed. You or your child can also help others living with type 1 diabetes and celiac disease by improving our understanding of treatment options.

What will happen during screening?

We will ask that you or your child provide a blood sample during your routine diabetes clinic visit. If the test is positive for celiac disease, we will call you with the results and put you in touch with a gastroenterologist (a doctor who is an expert on the digestive system) for follow-up. If the gastroenterologist confirms your diagnosis, you may be eligible to take part in the next phase of this research, where we will study the effect of diet on individuals who have celiac disease and are symptom-free. The purpose of the second phase of the study is to assess the impact of diet on patients without symptoms of celiac disease over the period of 1 year.

Where can I be screened?

Screening is ongoing at hospitals and health care centres across the Greater Toronto Area and Ontario. Please speak to a CD-DIET study coordinator for information on screening locations or to learn more   about this study.

Contact us at

The Hospital for Sick Children
CD-DIET Hotline
Tel: 416-813-7654 Ext 201713
email: cd.diet@sickkids.ca

Visit us on the web at

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