Dietitian’s Corner: Going Gluten-Free?

gluten freeTreatment of celiac disease is a lifelong elimination of gluten, otherwise known as a gluten-free diet. People with non-celiac gluten sensitivity may also benefit from a gluten-free diet. A gluten-free diet is one that excludes the protein gluten, found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). Wheat products may also go by these names:

  • Durum flour.
  • Graham flour.
  • Kamut.
  • Semolina.
  • Spelt.

Removing all gluten from your diet may seem difficult. However, there are many healthy and delicious foods that are naturally gluten-free. These include:

  • Fruits and vegetables.
  • Fresh meats, seafood, fish, and poultry (not breaded, batter-coated, or marinated).
  • Most dairy products.
  • Fresh eggs.
  • Beans, legumes, and nuts in their natural, unprocessed form.

Also, there are many naturally gluten-free grains and starches that can be enjoyed in a variety of creative ways. These include:

  • Rice.
  • Cassava.
  • Corn and cornstarch.
  • Soy.
  • Potato.
  • Tapioca.
  • Starchy beans.
  • Sorghum.
  • Quinoa.
  • Millet.
  • Buckwheat.
  • Arrowroot.
  • Amaranth.
  • Teff.
  • Flax.
  • Chia.
  • Yucca.
  • Gluten-free oats.
  • Flours made of rice, soy, corn, potato, beans, nuts, peas, and coconut.

The above alternatives should not be processed or mixed with gluten-containing grains, additives, or preservatives. If you are following a gluten-free diet to treat celiac disease, even tiny amounts of gluten can damage the small intestine and prevent nutrients from being absorbed into the bloodstream. Look for naturally gluten-free grains, flours, and starches that are labeled gluten-free and certified gluten-free by a third party. It is also important to remember that “wheat-free” does not necessarily mean “gluten-free.”

For a personalized consultation, contact Linda at dietitianlinda@cooperhealth.edu.

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