Celiac Disease: Eating a Gluten-Free Diet
What is an Actionset?
Celiac disease is a problem some people have with foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a kind of protein found in foods like bread, crackers, and pasta. When a person with celiac disease eats gluten, the body's natural defense system (immune system) attacks the gluten and 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.
Return to topic:
Gluten is found in wheat, rye, and barley. Common foods that contain gluten include:
Some foods are labeled wheat-free, but this does not 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.
Test Your Knowledge
It is okay for people with celiac disease to eat foods that are labeled wheat-free.
By following a gluten-free eating plan:
After you go on a gluten-free diet, symptoms such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea usually bother you less or go away within 2 or 3 weeks. Also, your body begins to absorb nutrients normally, and the small intestine gradually heals.
Test Your Knowledge
By eating foods that are free of gluten, you avoid damaging your intestines.
Do not eat any foods that contain gluten. These include bagels, bread, crackers, malted breakfast cereals, pasta, and pizza.
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.
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:
Eating a gluten-free diet is not easy. But if you take your time to read labels and ask questions, you can stay on a gluten-free eating plan.
Test Your Knowledge
On a gluten-free eating plan, you can still drink beer.
You may need to avoid milk and milk products at the beginning of treatment for celiac disease.
If you have questions about this information, take it with you when you visit your doctor. You may want to mark areas or make notes in the margins where you have questions.
Many communities have celiac disease support groups that are local branches of national organizations. It can help to join such groups. Other members of the group can help teach you which foods are gluten-free, share recipes and meal ideas, and help you learn what foods to avoid.
If you would like more information on celiac disease, the following resources are available:
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Find out what women really need.
Pill Identifier on RxList
- quick, easy,
Find a Local Pharmacy
- including 24 hour, pharmacies