Sick of Celiac Disease? Here Are Some Diet Tips

May  03,  2014

Celiac disease is a condition affecting thousands of people. Celiac disease is a condition which makes it difficult or impossible to digest gluten. Celiac diagnoses are on the rise — partially due to new screening tools and education — and many sufferers are unsure what to expect. Many people mistakenly believe that celiac is the same as wheat allergy, although the two conditions are different. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition affecting the small intestine, yet it has symptoms that are systemic and chronic, not least of which include fatigue and digestive issues. Celiac disease can be managed with a diet plan.

Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale (a wheat-rye cross). Common foods that contain gluten include:

Bagels. Bread. Breakfast cereals made with wheat, barley, or rye, or with the term malt or malted in their names. Malt is made from barley. Crackers. Pasta. Pizza. Some foods are labeled wheat-free, but this doesn’t mean that they are gluten-free. For example, some food labels list hydrolyzed vegetable protein. This sounds harmless, but this protein is often made from wheat and can contain a lot of gluten.

By following a gluten-free eating plan:

You avoid damaging your intestines and the severe problems that the damage can cause. Your body can get the nutrition it needs. You control your symptoms.

Do not eat any foods that contain gluten. These include foods made with wheat, barley, rye, or triticale (a wheat-rye cross).

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.

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.

On a gluten-free eating plan, you can still have:

Eggs and milk products such as cheese. Some cheese and cheese spreads may contain gluten, so check the labels for additives. You may need to avoid milk and milk products at the beginning of treatment. Flours and starches made from rice, corn, buckwheat, potatoes, soybeans, or tapioca. Fresh, frozen, or canned unprocessed meats. Examples of processed meats are hot dogs, salami, and deli meat. Read labels for additives that may contain gluten. Fresh, frozen, dried, or canned fruits and vegetables, if they do not have thickeners or other additives that contain gluten. Certain alcohol drinks, including wine, liquor (including whiskey and brandy), liqueurs, and ciders. 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.