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Gluten-Free Diet Guidelines for Celiac Disease

Safe (and Unsafe) Grains for a Gluten-Free Diet

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Updated May 21, 2014

A gluten-free diet is critical for people with celiac disease, because eating gluten causes the body's immune system to attack and damage the small intestine. Presently, the gluten-free diet is the only treatment for celiac disease. That means no wheat, barley, rye -- and for the most part, no oats, either, because oats are usually (but not always) cross-contaminated with gluten from these other grains. All derivatives of these grains must also be avoided.

Learning to cope with the gluten-free diet is difficult –- not only because many staples of a normal diet must be given up, but also because gluten lurks as a hidden ingredient in many products. Patients and their families must learn special guidelines for shopping, food preparation, and dining out.

Manufacturers are presently not required to specify gluten in their lists of ingredients. Below is a table that lists grains that are safe, and grain products to avoid. If you wish, you can print this table of grain guidelines and take it to the supermarket with you.

In all cases, the bottom line is: If you don't know exactly what an ingredient is and what it's derived from, don't take a chance on it.

Sources:

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Celiac Disease Awareness Campaign.

Horvath K, Cureton P, and The Children’s Digestive Health and Nutrition Foundation Celiac Campaign Scientific Advisory Board. Gluten-Free Diet Guide for Families.North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN), Flourtown, PA.

Lowell JP. Against the Grain. Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1995.

Hagman B. The Gluten-Free Gourmet: Living Well Without Wheat. Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1990.

Grain Guidelines for Celiacs

Gluten-Free Grains and Starches
Amaranth
Arrowroot
Buckwheat
Chickpeas (Garbanzos)
Corn
Flax
Flours from nuts/beans/seeds
Millet
Potato starch or flour
Quinoa
Rice (and rice bran/flour)
Sago
Sorghum
Soy (but not most soy sauce)
Tapioca
Teff
Grains/Grain Products to Avoid Also Beware of These
Barley
Barley malt/extract
Bran
Bulgur
Couscous
Durum
Farina
Faro
Kamut
Malt
Matzo flour/meal
Orzo
Panko
Rye
Seitan
Semolina
Spelt
Triticale
Udon
Wheat
Wheat bran / germ / starch
Ales
Artificial Colors
Artificial Flavors
Beer
Breading
Brown rice syrup
Coating mix
Communion wafers
Condiments
Croutons
Candy
Food Starch / Modified Food Starch
Luncheon/Deli Meats
Marinades
Maltose
Maltodextrin
Medications
Mustard
Natural Flavors
Oats
Salad dressings
Sauces
Soups / broths
Stuffing
Soy Sauce
Thickeners
Vitamins / Mineral and herbal supplements
Lipstick, Gloss and Balms
Play Doh
Envelope Glue

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