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.
Untreated celiac disease can make it hard for
you to get the nutrients you need. Eating a variety of healthy foods that do
not have gluten can help you keep your weight up and stay
The main treatment for celiac disease is to avoid eating
any foods that contain gluten. Even the smallest amount of gluten is harmful
and can cause symptoms in some people.
Even if you don't have
symptoms, you still need to avoid gluten totally to prevent damage to the
intestines and long-term problems.
Some people with celiac disease
need to avoid cow's milk and milk products when they first begin treatment.
Most people can slowly add dairy foods back into their diet as the intestine
heals. But they will still need to avoid foods with gluten for the rest of
If you have questions about following a gluten-free
eating plan for celiac disease, talk to your doctor or dietitian.
How to eat when you have celiac disease
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
Foods to avoid
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:
made with wheat, barley, or rye, or that have the term "malt" or "malted" in their
names. Malt is made from
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 hidden gluten. Foods such as ice cream, salad dressing, candy, canned and frozen soups and
vegetables, and other processed foods may have hidden gluten.
Foods you can eat
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
Flours and starches made from rice, corn, buckwheat,
potatoes, soybeans, or tapioca.
Fresh, frozen, or canned
unprocessed meats. (Examples of processed meats to avoid are hot dogs, salami, and deli
meat.) Read labels for additives that may contain gluten.
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.
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.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.