Diabetes and Crohn’s Disease | An Overview

My story of being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and Crohn's disease.

We talk about invisible illness all the time. Looking at a recent trip to the pharmacy, the pile of medications is not as invisible
We talk about invisible illness all the time. Looking at a recent trip to the pharmacy, the pile of medications is not as invisible

Being diagnosed with one chronic disease is not necessarily enough. Here is my story about being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes (T2D) in addition to my Crohn’s disease and how I manage the two chronic diseases.

As Crohn’s suffers; patients; the lucky few (or is it really that few); or however we choose to label ourselves, life has certainly drawn us a short straw. Although I have to admit, the rapid weight loss can be a great way to get back into that fun outfit buried deep in your wardrobe, however, even that is short-lived after a few weeks of Prednisone munchies. The truth of the matter is that as Crohnies we cherish good quality toilet paper and always know where the closest washroom is. We have a chronic disease, Crohn’s for life – isn’t that enough for one person to have to deal with? The trouble is, unfortunately not!

Do you have a chronic disease?  Check out our survey on diabetes, IBD, Crohn’s and colitis – go to the survey here or in the sidebar.

Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes

If you do a quick Google search on “Crohn’s and diabetes (Type 1 or Type 2)” about 1,150,000 results are found.  Comparatively, a search for Chicken Gumbo soup stirs up about 257,000.  With numbers like these, maybe an association between Type 2 or T2 Diabetes and Crohn’s Disease is not that uncommon after all.  For many of you who have read my history please bear with me – I promise I will be brief. 

I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2005 (age 33).  I would not say that my disease ever went into remission but for a while, I did live drug-free – although I am positive my gastroenterologist would have scolded me.  Late last fall I started to experience persistent chest pains.  Like most guys, stubborn as we are, I kept putting it off.  I suppose  I am still gun-shy from years of Doctors telling me that my digestive issues were “all in my head”, and to try to get another bizarre diagnosis or feel like I am wasting a doctors time is not my favourite past time.  By late November, the pains had increased to a point that on my way home one evening I made a detour to the local emergency department.  12 hours later I was sent home with a “clean bill of health” (albeit with the pains persisting).  A few hours later the emergency department called, noting that further review of my blood work showed that my blood sugar levels were elevated (11.9 mmol/L or 215 mg/dl for my U.S. friends) and to follow with my family doctor. 

The question that went through my head at the time was simply this, “Was being in the emergency department, enough to get everyone’s heart pumping and adrenaline flowing.  No wonder my sugars were high!”  Denial, right? Like a good patient, over the next few weeks I met with my family doctor going over the various test results – it was confirmed, “Delayed Fasting Glucose” or “Prediabetes”.

What is prediabetes?

Well the Public Health Agency of Canada describes prediabetes as:



Over the coming months, my fasting glucose levels (collected after an 8 to 10 hour fast) were bouncing all around the board – 6.8, 9.1 – enough was enough.  It looked like,  pre-diabetics education and a few lifestyle changes were in order.  Education/knowledge is power after all, right?

I have to commend the  South Lake Regional Health Centre on excellent diabetes education, support program and staffing.  Although I admit, the cohort in the pre-diabetes class was a little skewed towards the retired and me at 38 just didn’t fit in.  Regardless, the day-long course I attended in late January provided an overview of “Diabetes” and more importantly how to not to be one of the 4 out of 10 people in the class whose disease would progress to Type 2 Diabetes.

Exercise, diet, portion size, managed carbohydrate intake was to become my new norm, and fibre became my next best friend.  Ok – lets put on the breaks a little – did he just say fibre?  Sounds easy enough!  However, when we had a little training session in the class on how to your a glucometer, I know I was in trouble – at the end of the training the nurse did a little roll-call on what our blood-sugar levels were – 4.5, 5, 6.5 – I don’t recall anyone being above 7.0 – that was until they came to me – 9.9 (anything under 10.0 two hours after a meal is considered normal).  Only thing the diabetes education nurse emphasized in the class was that if through good diet, and exercised, It could take years for someone to progress from prediabetes to diabetes – in my case, the years were more like months as you can see in the chart.

A print out of my diabetic glucose readings

As of March 18th, 2010,  I was officially diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes.  Chronic illness number two!  WOOT!  UGG!

What is Type-2 Diabetes

Diabetes Canada defines Type 2 diabetes as a disease in which your pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or your body does not properly use the insulin it makes.  As a result, glucose (sugar) builds up in your blood instead of being used for energy. Your body gets glucose from foods like bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, milk and fruit. To use this glucose, your body needs insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body to control the level of glucose in your blood. High blood glucose levels can cause complications such as blindness, heart disease, kidney problems, nerve damage and erectile dysfunction (did that one get your attention?).

For myself, I like to look at diabetes like an engine.  A normal working pancreas is running on all cylinders – much like an engine on gasoline, it burns sugar as fuel.  A Type-1 diabetic – well their pancreas is dead and does not burn any sugar, insulin is used as a substitute to manage glucose control.   With Type-2 diabetes, look at it as our pancreas is getting lazy.  In my case, my pancreas is working at about 30% – or back to my engine analogy running on three of eight cylinders. The engine sounds like crap, however, it will still get us from point A to point B – just don’t count on it do it well or pretty.  Overall, I blame my Crohn’s – yes, Type-2 diabetes does run in my family.   My mom was diagnosed in her late fifties, her uncle around the same age – however for me, at 38, I was a bit ahead of the curve.  At the same time, I have had the fun experience of having pancreatitis (inflexion in the pancreas) on two occasions that probably beat the pulp out of my pancreas.  I suppose it could be worse – I could have easily ended up as a Type-1 diabetic.

OCTOBER 2018: The last few months have been interesting and my diabetes has been kicking my butt. Lethargic, my A1C shooting up, rarely a blood sugar reading below 16 (300 mg/dl), and my c=peptide tanking. For the time being (I am being optimistic) a full fast acting regiment of insulin before every meal along with the remainder of my diabetes pills and injections. I will be sure to check in again soon with an update.

Life as a Diabetic with Crohn’s

It is always fun going back and reading some of my older blog posts.  It is 2017, seven years after I originally wrote this post.   It is incredible how quickly time flies.  Today I am an insulin-dependant Type-2 diabetic and a Crohnie and the best part, most people would not know about either.  I exercise (run and the gym), I still enjoy ice-cream and milkshakes, and still have terrible glucose days, however, my A1C or HBA1c is typically below 7.

The A1C test is a common blood test used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes and then to gauge how well you’re managing your diabetes. The A1C test goes by many other names, including glycated hemoglobin, glycosylated hemoglobin, hemoglobin A1C and HbA1c.

The A1C test result reflects your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. Specifically, the A1C test measures what percentage of your hemoglobin — a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen — is coated with sugar (glycated). The higher your A1C level, the poorer your blood sugar control and the higher your risk of diabetes complications.  Typically an A1C of less then 7 is considered good glucose management.

Food and being a Crohn’s patient has always been a challenge – high finer, low glucose is always best for diabetics.  However, high fibre may not necessarily work for Crohn’s patients all of the time.   This is particularly important when we are fighting a flareup.  Although I spend most of my life balancing my Crohn’s on pillars of Methotrexate and Humira when I have had to fall back to Prednisone my glucose levels have skyrocketed.  However, following these basic rules sets great habits no matter how our other chronic disease is behaving and, knock on wood, life for me seems pretty “normal” – I know it is a relative word.

Eat three meals per day at regular times and space meals no more than six hours apart. You may benefit from a healthy snack.Eating at regular times helps your body control blood glucose (sugar) levels.
Limit sugars and sweets such as sugar, regular pop, desserts, candies, jam and honey.The more sugar you eat, the higher your blood glucose will be. Artificial sweeteners can be useful.
Limit the amount of high-fat food you eat such as fried foods, chips and pastries.High-fat foods may cause you to gain weight. A healthy weight helps with blood glucose (sugar) control and is healthier for your heart.
Eat more high-fibre foods such as whole-grain bread and cereals, lentils, dried beans and peas, brown rice, vegetables and fruits.Foods high in fibre may help you feel full and may lower blood glucose (sugar) and cholesterol levels.
If you are thirsty, drink water.Drinking regular pop and fruit juice will raise your blood glucose (sugar).
Add physical activity to your life.  – No excuses here, I live off of Methotrexate and Humira.  I have bad days / weeks like everyone else however, exercise does wonders.Regular physical activity will improve your blood glucose (sugar) control.

Source: https://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/healthy-living-resources/diet-nutrition/basic-meal-planning

MARCH 2020: Sadly optimism doesn’t win with diabetes, 18 months later I officially consider myself an insulin-dependant Type-2 diabetic. Life could be worse? After all, how many people can stand up and proudly say they have not one but two chronic diseases – LOL

Eat Right Ontario

For those like myself that live in Ontario, Canada – EatRight Ontario (ERO) is a free service that connects residents of Ontario to the trusted advice of a Registered Dietitian to help you make healthier food choices and answer your nutrition questions.

Whether you are a parent, consumer, health professional or community leader, here are the three easy ways to reach a Registered Dietitian.  Check out their website at www.eatrightontario.ca  or:

  1. Call this toll-free number: 1-877-510-510-2
  2. Email the Email a Dietitian service
  3. Use this website to read healthy eating articles, watch videos, find recipes and explore interactive tools to help you with menu planning and portion sizes and setting goals

Recent Research Study on Crohn’s and Diabetes

Is there an association between Crohn’s Disease. Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and Diabetes? A quick literature and journal review found some interesting results.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Increases Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in a Nationwide Cohort Study

Recently, two Danish researchers, found that there is a relationship between Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) and Type-2 Diabetes.

Researchers explored the long-term risk for type 2 diabetes in patients with IBD by performing a nationwide, population-based cohort study in Demark. They analyzed data comprising more than 6 million individuals to compare the risk for diabetes between patients diagnosed with UC (n = 44,915) or CD (n = 20,265) with individuals without IBD between 1977 and 2014. Over the course of 732,072 person-years of follow-up, 3,436 patients with IBD developed type 2 diabetes vs. 2,224 expected cases (standardized incidence ratio [SIR] = 1.54; 95% CI, 1.49–1.6). The risk was increased for both patients with UC and patients with CD, as well as in women and in men.

Although the risk for diabetes was highest in the first year after IBD diagnosis (SIR = 4.48; 95% CI, 1.5–1.65), it remained increased for 20 or more years (SIR = 1.26; 95% CI, 1.16–1.38). Patients who were diagnosed between 2003 and 2014 were at higher risk compared with patients diagnosed in the two other time cohorts; 1977 to 1988 and 1989 through 2002.

“The risk persisted long-term, was not explained by detection bias or corticosteroid exposure and was present in both CD and UC patients,” Jess and colleagues wrote. “The risk was particularly high in patients diagnosed in the new millennium, hence warranting further investigations into the impact of IBD treatments on diabetes risk.

Read the article here: Jess T, et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019;doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2019.07.052.

Increased Risk of Diabetes in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients: A Nationwide Population-Based Study in Korea

A cohort study out of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients in South Korea published similar results to the Danish study.

Newly diagnosed diabetics were identified using International Classification of Disease (ICD-10) codes and the prescription of anti-diabetic medication by the end of the follow-up period (2016) was investigated.

The study found that the during a mean follow-up of 5.1 years, the incidence of diabetes in patients with IBD was significantly higher compared with controls after adjusting for serum glucose levels and steroid use (23.19 vs. 22.02 per 1000 person-years; hazard ratio (HR), 1.135; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.048–1.228). The risk of diabetes was significantly higher in patients with CD (HR, 1.677; 95% CI, 1.408–1.997), but not in UC (HR, 1.061; 95% CI, 0.973–1.156). The effect of IBD on the development of diabetes was significantly more prominent in younger patients (p < 0.001). Patients with CD are at a higher risk of diabetes. Regular monitoring for diabetes is recommended, even in younger CD patients who do not use steroid medication.

Read the article here: J Clin Med. 2019 Aug; 8(8): 1191. Published online 2019 Aug 8. doi: 10.3390/jcm8081191

What is your Crohn’s and Diabetes Story – Comment Below?

I know most of the readers of this article came here looking for answers. I wish I had some definite answers for you. For me, my Crohn’s came first, followed by diabetes. What about you?

Notes: Edited September 25, 2017, 2020.  Originally published April 1, 2010.

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  1. Well, it’s been a few months now, and I do have to say I might not be in the greatest shape of my life, I’m still overweight, but I’m down from 280 + pounds to about 255 pounds, I walk about 2 hours a day at a good pace 5 days a week, because that’s a part of my job, my eye sight isn’t the greatest but I’ve been mostly farsighted I think is the right term, anything small within 10 to 12 inches including my own writing is a little blurry, and the smaller the letters the worse the blurry. I take naps through out the day, but then I work grave, which in itself is difficult. Coffee with creamer rather than sweetner, and yes low sugar in the creamer, and non dairy to fit with Crohn’s. Life hasn’t changed to much except for the stress level, but then that’s not something a change of diet can help, that would be a new job, but at current the rest of my life has been going well, and I focus on things and I feel that many things in my life are getting better. I’m still not one to favor what a doctor says, but I’ve done my own studying and watching what I eat, not saying I’m a doctor or anything close, but I believe what I believe, and that’s that I will live with my feet attached, and my hands included, my heart will outlive me, I don’t know how, but it will, and I will not deal with shots, besides, I had to many shots in my youth from allergy shots, and still have a few issues with asthma. These things are not gonna get me down, no matter what our politic outcome is in the U.S.

    Just wanted to give an update in case anyone was interested.

    Thank you

    • Hey Arthur! I appreciate you touching base, it sounds like you have made some significant changes in your lifestyle. It gets easier, I can assure you. I am sure you have noticed the change with the 30 lb drop in weight, walks must be easier, joints a bit more tolerant. Honestly, that is 10% weight loss – that’s huge! Keep it up and certainly keep in touch.

  2. Thanks for posting this. I have been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease for 13 years today I was diagnosed with diabetes possibly type 1 or very like it. It is good to see I’m not alone. And that there can be a reasonable quality of life with both. Once I get my Crohn’s disease back on track.

    • Yeah the Crohn’s kicks our bodies butt at times – and sadly apparatus to impact other organs. A lot of what I post is my own personal struggles – diabetes is one of the added adventures of chronic illness. I am much more insulin dependant then I ever was before.

      When on prednisone I need to live like a type 1; most other times just oral medications. However last year, diabetes has kicked it up a notch and I now need insulin before most meals. However, love still goes on – I still run, hike, however, admittedly, seem to need naps more often. Then again, that is just a sign that I have not been behaving enough.

      No you are not alone and interesting enough – that is one of the most popular / visited pages on my little site.

      Glad you took the time to write!

  3. Hello. I’ve been diagnosed with Crohn’s for about 30 years now, I went into the U.S. Navy just prior to finding out about my Crohn’s, and that was actually where I was diagnosed, Crohn’s with Colitus. And I’ve lived with these diseases for the greater part of my life, I’ve had times of inflammation, I mean high school graduation was a treat, I ate a banana and I was barely able to stand up to go get my diploma, of course this was before I was diagnosed, but it was a great thing to finally know what the problem was. and that was back in 1988, I have since lived a decent life, no pain mostly sometimes like 2 maybe 3 times a year I might have a flare up, but now I’m being told by my doctor, and this is a new doctor for me, through the Veterans’ Administration that all the troubles I’ve had to go through for the last near 30 years, all the diet modifications life style changes. so on, seem to be for nothing. Now understand I have even less love for doctors and hospitals than most people, growing up it was the hospital for allergies and asthma then high school I have blood coming out of my back end and a sudden need to be sure I know where every restroom is on my school campus, and any restaurant I go to, or along any street and mall that I might have gone to. Once in the military and nearly a year into my service I scheduled an appointment to see a doctor, which then got me into seeing a gastroenterologist, pain in the butt right there, but they and I mean the whole department at the hospital were great, very nice, and if the hospital hadn’t been military and one of the hospitals on the west coast that got closed I would still love to go there for treatment, but again, it got closed. Did I forget to mention that the doctor gave my family and I a heads up on what I might have had because he’d seen the cobblestoning in my intestines and the palips and other scaring many times before so he was familiar with the damages of the disease. Well a couple weeks went by and my diagnosis was confirmed, I had Crohn’s and Colitus, well I got my meds and went on with medical discharging from the military and so on.

    By the way sorry to go on about my life.

    And through many years I’ve gone to the VA for medical treatment which I’ve mostly tried to ignore, I mean my Crohn’s was there, but the minor flares I can deal with and if things got really bad, I would go in and they could help with the minor stuff like my asthma. See, minor stuff like asthma, well, because of my having to watch what I ate and sometimes some outside information, I was mostly able to keep my diet the same, chicken and ham, Iron Kids bread with iron, green vegetables, water. and later I started eating fruit though for 10 to 15 years that and any fruit for that matter was off my list and sodas (Oh how I love soda), soda was really bad, one swallow and I’m looking for the nearest port of call, and yes I mean bathroom. You all I hope know what I’m talking about, a wrong food and bathroom city where are you.
    Well, to get back to why I’m here and writing, my new Doctor had a diabetes test done on me, well blood work, and my blood work came back, according to the clinic, saying I had an a1c reading of 13.0 or higher test for my a1c levels, which I’m guessing means I’m wildly out of control. I was wondering if anyone has found that the tests along with your Crohn’s kinda invalidates the a1c because certain foods that you might be able to eat help produce more red blood cells or other oddities, I mean again I’ve had health issues like this all my life, but I refuse to go in and say again “Okay, Doc, I’m now Diabetic,” or whatever they want me to say. I had no choice with asthma or allergies, Crohn’s I was in the military, but I’m 49 years old now, and I’m tired of caving in to someone wanting to say I’ve got something that is again life threatening or going to kill me in the long run. I’m interested in anything that could be of use as far as diet that’s a little more natural than finger pricks and shots of insulin or doctors’ visits every few months or whatever the time frame is. See, I might be used to having some disease or other, but I’m not interested in accepting something else because someone says I have this or that.

    Thank you for listening.

  4. Bob, Your story could be mine, except it is 20 years earlier and my fistula didn’t leave me with ongoing problems.

    Although I haven’t posted for years due to ongoing study I have continued to research this issue. I would suggest you consider a couple of books. One is “Pure White and Deadly” and the other is “The Diabetes Solution” by Dr Richard K Berstein.

    I am pretty convinced that excess inflammation is the common theme but haven’t put together the research to be confident writing on it in detail yet but will say that blood sugar rises in response to inputs of foods that can be turned into glucose. High BGL causes high insulin and I would suggest these 2 promote the inflammatory cascade. Diabetes is sometimes called glucose intolerance. So anything with carbs in it will increase your BGL. Anything with protein will increase your BGL more slowly but still lead to a rise.

    This brings me to the Mediterranean diet which is high in green leafy veg and olive oil. The biggest problem with todays diet advise is they promote low fat, which in turn reduces our protein intake (as high fat foods are often high protein foods as well) in preference for high carb foods. The reason given is that low fat diet will correlate with reduced death resulting from cardiac disease. Facts don’t support this, nor does this diet promote weight loss. In fact westerners have reduced fat intake by roughy 25% whilst overweight and obesity have doubled. There is ample evidence that diets lower in carbs will provoke weight loss.

    Finally, if you used to weigh 140 pounds and now weigh 210 I would suggest you may be carrying some weight. Weight loss of as little as 7% is proven to improve insulin sensitivity, as is strenuous exercise so you need to start an exercise programme, your life does depend on it. At the very least maintaining your fitness should strave off some of the nastier effects of diabetes and improve the quality of your life. Put bluntly do you want your feet buried at the same time as the rest of you or do you want to bury them earlier like my grandfather did. Strikes me as not cool.

    There’s my 10 cents and my own health plan. Make of it what you will.



  5. I got sick back in the winter of 1969/1970 when I was stressed a little because I passed gas and my underwear became covered in blood. Went through tests and my family doctor first thought I had a staph infection, then they thought Ulcerative Colitus. In October 1971, before our wedding, November 12, I’d see a couple doctors for pains in my rear and going down my legs, then the last doctor took one look and sent me to the hospital, where I had surgery that day for a fistula. I really had no idea what it was until they took the tape off my rear end and the packing fell out, then I found I had a hole large enough for a man’s fist to fit into. Married two weeks later under 100 pounds. Then later about 140 pounds was my normal. About 1973 I went for more tests at a university hosptial and was diagnosed with crohns. 1982 had a bowel resection around the terminal illeum, about 99.5 cm. Then finally around 1985 we went with friends to the Mayo and had reconstructive surgery on my rectum. Since then another fistual and now I’m coming to 63 soon. My weight is about 210 pounds now. In January my blood glucose was fairly normal at 99 mg/dL and when I went in April for a high blood pressure check, I tested at 151 mg/dL. I told them at that time no classes or more meds, but I’d go back for a recheck May 30 and see. I’ve tried exercise (some but not a lot) I work at a computer about 9 hours a day, so most exercise is walking up or down to where I work. After about 3 weeks of trying to eat less sugar, less food, etc., I had my wife test me today with her meter, which stated I’m now at 197 mg/dL, so I’m not feeling very good about going back to retest in about 10 days.

    I picked up a book on special diets (SCD I believe). It is for people with intestinal problems and also ceiliacs disease, but I’m not good getting off corn, bananas, potatos, or some other foods they may say are bad for us.


    • Hi Bob! Thanks for sharing. I agree — living healthy is the best medicine no matter what the condition. I too try to manage my ailments as much as possible without the chemical crutch. For me and my Crohns, if I can go two weeks between Humeria injections over my seven to ten days, I am ecstatic (and so is my wallet). Each of us have our victories – sounds like you are winning the battle. Keep up the great fight!

  6. Hi there. Where do i start? To date they have not found out whats wrong with me. Its frustrating….. as all tests seem to come back with a touch, but not conclusive. I have been suffering since before i was a teenager, and i’m now into my mid forties. My bloodline is extremely mixed so they look at me and say nooo….. these are Caucasian diseases so don’t take me seriously. I was just doing some research on passing gas through some unmentionable places, and saw the link to Crohns disease and was amazed, as some of the symptoms i have experienced over the years, but still they are telling me they are not sure. I have now developed type 2 diabetes, am on Insulin but still my sugar levels are not going down. When they found the diabetes, they stopped looking, thinking that its just diabetes and not looking at the root cause…… Advice will be appreciated

    • Hi Marion!

      Thanks you for sharing — it is always nice to everyone to hear the stories. I can totally relate to your understanding and I think most of us can in many ways. Before I was diagnosed I even had one doctor go as far as to suggest that I was only seeking attention and while making circular motions around his temple implying that my symptoms were all in my head. My advice, is that you know your body, and you know what feels “normal” and not. For me, my normal is urgently running to the bathroom, tender abdomen, pimples at forty + which I blame on being on immune suppressants, and neuropathy. If life changes from that normal, I know I need to keep a closer eye on myself. Be sure to be your own advocate, I have an excellent rapport with all of my doctors, they trust my option as much as I do theirs. Pick one symptom and focus in on that. You mentioned “passing gas through some unmentionable places”, sounds to me like a great start. If I was in that situation, I would ask:
      1) Dietary – is there a food allergy or sensitivity thjat is affecting you – i.e Coeliac disease comes to mind
      2) Is your body responding to some other stimulus – for me, as my Crohn’s fares up, so does the amount of inflammation in my body? To monitor my condition, my doctors always check my C-reactive protein (CRP) whenever I do blood work. C-reactive protein (CRP) is a non-specific test. It is used by a doctor to detect inflammation if there is a high suspicion of tissue injury or infection somewhere in the body, but the test cannot tell where the inflammation is or what condition is causing it. CRP is not diagnostic of any condition, but it can be used together with signs and symptoms and other tests to evaluate an individual for an acute or chronic inflammatory condition (http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/crp/tab/test).

      What kind of test have you had? As you mentioned suffering from intestinal discomfort have you ever been referred to a Gastroenterologist? Have you ever had a colostomy? More issues to discuss with your family physician.
      Please continue to share your story.


  7. Hi, thank you all for your comments. I was diagnosed with crohn’s in 2007 and just today I was informed that I was pre-diabetic.
    There are also gluten, soy and dairy intolerances in my family so we’ve been doing a lot of research on gluten free diets.
    Now, I find that I will also have to add a diabetic diet into my regime.
    Does anyone know of any books that list the best foods to eat when one has both crohn’s and pre diabetes?
    Any book titles you can give me would be appreciated. I live in British Columbia, Canada.
    Thank you.


  8. Mark,

    I’m 44, have had Crohns since age 19. Just diagnosed with Syndrome X, insulin resistance.

    I am a health professional and have spent a lot of time looking at nutrition.

    Might I suggest the work of Dr Richard K Bernstein. Although his work buck the medical orthodoxy on diabetes I believe from my research that it is supported by science and is evidence based.

    Would love to hear from you



    • Hi Scott:

      Thank you for the message and insights. When I first read Dr. Bernstein, I quickly jumped to the parallel with Dr Stanley K. Bernstein here in Canada that offers “medically” supervised dieting here in Canada. Where i understand the controversy lies in the argument that medically does not necessarily equate to healthy over the longer term. In this case, coincidently, you are referring to a Richard Bernstein which according to Wikipedia is an endocrinologist in New York. An unfortunate similarity.

      How do u find the low carb diet and crohns safe foods?? Most diabetic recipes are heavy on the fiber?

      • Mark,

        Just a bit of background on me.
        1988 (19 years old) I had a peri anal fissure which required surgery and ultimately after 18 months lead to my diagnosis.
        In 2002 after 6 months of increasing pain and malaise I had a right hemi colectomy after exploratory surgery found an abcess around my mesenteric artery.
        I’ve always been overweight to some degree.
        3 weeks ago I was diagnosed with insulin resistance, although this was flagged as a likely problem 4 years ago after an abnormal OGTT with insulin showed high insulin.

        I have used low carb diets to some degree for 6 years or so. This has controlled my weight.

        I have 2 of the 4 marker genes for coeliac’s disease, consequently more than 4 slices of bread a day and I I become flatulent.

        I find that bowel irritablity is moderately reduced by a low carb diet.

        Getting a diagnosis has been good. My wife is convinced by the grain councils “food pyramid” which mandates lots of whole grain food. Now when I eat nothing but meat, eggs, cheese, cream, olives and green leafy veg she doesn’t nag. “It’s in the diet honey”

        I’m still researching this and have access to most medical journals so I will have more to offer at a later date.

        It would be fair to say that I am a radical. I’m interested in the science, not the medical orthodoxy of bodies such as the ADA.

        I’m also a professional paramedic with a diploma and 1 topic to go to get my degree.

        I’d love to discuss this issue more.



        • Hi Scott:

          Thank again for your posts — your messages have motivated me to create a Diet and Nutrition section on the site. Not that I have any content to add there at the moment… hoever, its a start.

          It sounds like you have had a battle on a few fronts, but also appear to approach everything with a great attitute. A paramedic, good friends of ours (husband and wife) are Paramedics here in Canada so we are very familiar with the profession (beside the obvious) — however, only one topic to go to get your degree, anyone that can go to school part time and be so near graduating deserves two thumbs up — what are you studying?

          Feel Free to write any time —- and if you ever want to contribute to the Nutrition section jus send me a few words!


  9. Hi Mark,

    thanks for sharing your experience with us. I also have Crohn’s disease and after my last attack approx. one month ago I have been suffering from many other conditions as well. I am really climbing the ladder in crohn’s business. For more than a month I have had some symptoms of diabetes, but my doctors tell me that would be due to the attack and try to calm me down. Yet as my father has diabetes type II, I have decided to combine my crohn’s diet with the diabetes diet. What I have learned in the prolonged years of suffering is to become my own doctor.

    Thank you again

  10. There is an article that came out about how Crohn’s and type 1 diabetes share a genetic link. I find this very interesting in regards to the rising cases of Crohn’s, a relatively unheard of disease just a few decades ago, and the environmental and genetic connections with a disease like diabetes. Maybe treatment for one could cure the other. Plus, it helps shed more light on how people wind up with these conditions in the first place. Anyways, just wanted to share this [www.sciencedaily.com is where I first saw it] insight since you’re the first person to talk about the link between the two diseases. Take care.

  11. Carl:

    I have to agree with you, with our little “quirky” ailments, it is always good to dig up the natural remedies where we can, eve if we can postpone the inevitable (more drugs) for a few years I honestly believe we are better off. Our local hospital has a great diabetes clinic, and I would highly recommend checking with your family doctor if there is something similar in Sarnia. The clinic offered a full day course on pre-diabetes, to help you understand exactly what diabetes was and more importantly, discussed the key philosophy around diet control. The key was, what can pre-diabetics do to hopefully stay as pre-diabetics for the rest of their lives. As a Crohn’s suffer yourself, the largest challenge I have found is that there are some fundamental opposites in our diets, particularly when the the Crohn’s is flaring up — fibre is good — it requires more work do break down, hence uses more energy = sugar. But as a Crohn’s sufferer, who needs those little fibre scrub brushes irritating our bodies more then they all ready are.


    On the personal side: Allison to Sarnia is a bit of a move, but I must admit (looking out the window) being close to the lake is great. However, being so close to Lake Huron I think you have me beat!

  12. Thanks for sharing, Mark. I have also been diagnosed with Chron’s and pre-diabetes and will soon be seeing a specialist to talk about maintenance (drugs?) but (hopefully) diet control. It’s been interesting to learn about the complexities of the human body and the effects of lifestyle and aging (poor-choices and no-choices) but also some recent investigations into gluten.

    Side note: my wife and lived in Alliston, Ontario for many years before moving to our current location in the Sarnia area where I’m busy in the web design industry. Too bad I didn’t take time away from the keyboard to visit Lake Simcoe while we had the chance!

    All the best to you for the days ahead.


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