Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Celiac Disease: Eating a Gluten-Free Diet
Celiac disease 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 to anemia or osteoporosis or both.
This information 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 eating plan.
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 safe to eat oats labeled as gluten-free.
Carefully read food labels. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that if a food sold in the U.S. is labeled gluten-free, then it must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. Look for hidden gluten. Foods such as ice cream, salad dressing, candy, canned and frozen soups and vegetables, and other processed foods may have hidden gluten.
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.
Current as of: November 7, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineJerry S. Trier, MD - Gastroenterology
Current as of:
November 7, 2018
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Jerry S. Trier, MD - Gastroenterology
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