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Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Celiac Disease: Eating a Gluten-Free Diet
is a problem some people have with foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a type of
protein found in the grains wheat, barley, rye, and triticale (a wheat-rye cross). When a person with
celiac disease eats gluten, it triggers an immune response that is not normal. This damages the small intestine.
Symptoms of celiac disease can include gas,
bloating, diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, weakness, and vomiting. Stools may be
bulky, loose, and more frequent. The damage to the intestine also makes it hard
for your body to absorb vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. This can lead
osteoporosis or both.
can help you learn more about how to eat so you can manage your symptoms,
prevent long-term problems, and still get the nutrition you need.
If you have questions about following a gluten-free
eating plan for celiac disease, talk to your doctor or dietitian.
Eating a gluten-free diet isn't easy. But if you take
your time to read labels and ask questions, you can stay on a gluten-free
Do not eat
any foods that contain gluten. These include foods made with wheat, barley, rye, or triticale (a wheat-rye cross). Common foods that contain gluten include:
Avoid all beer products unless they say they are gluten-free. Beers
with and without alcohol—including lagers, ales, and stouts—contain gluten unless they specifically say they are gluten-free.
Avoid oats, at least at first. Oats may cause symptoms in some people, perhaps as a result of contamination with wheat, barley, or rye during processing. But many people who have celiac disease can eat moderate amounts of oats without having symptoms. Health professionals vary in their long-term recommendations regarding eating foods with oats. But most agree it is best that people newly diagnosed with celiac disease not eat oats until the condition is well controlled with a gluten-free diet.
Carefully read food labels. Look for wheat or wheat products added to
foods such as ice cream, salad dressing, candy, canned and frozen soups and
vegetables, and other processed foods.
On a gluten-free eating plan,
you can still have:
When you eat out, look for
restaurants that serve gluten-free food. You might ask if the chef is familiar
with cooking without any gluten. Also look for grocery stores that sell
gluten-free pizza and other foods. The Internet can be another source of
information on gluten-free foods.
May 29, 2012
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Jerry S. Trier, MD - Gastroenterology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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