What do I need to avoid for Celiac?
To avoid gluten, ask about ingredients at restaurants and others’ homes, and read food labels. Avoid questionable products until the manufacturer guarantees they are gluten-free. Recheck products regularly as ingredients may change.
Beginning in 2006, food labels in the US must accurately declare in a special “allergy statement” if wheat protein, even in small amounts, is present in an ingredient used in that food. However, this regulation does not pertain to other gluten-containing grains, so labels must still be checked carefully for those sources.
At home, care should be taken to keep gluten-containing itemsfoods used by other members of the household from contaminating cooking appliances, food-preparation surfaces, utensils, shared condiment jars, and so forth.
The following list is not complete. Consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your diet. Grains and grain products to avoid (check ingredients of breads, breading, cereals, coating mixes, crackers, croutons, fried snacks, muffins, pasta, pastries, stuffing, and so on):
Flour: any made from grains on this list; bread, brown, durum, granary, strong, and whole-meal flour usually indicate flours containing gluten
Oats and oat bran*
*While oats contain a substance similar to gluten, modern research has found that eating moderate amounts of oats does not appear to cause problems for people with celiac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis. However, oats may be contaminated with gluten from other grains during processing; therefore only useing only oat products tested and guaranteed to be free of gluten is recommended.
Other food products and ingredients that may contain gluten (check labels or manufacturer for ingredients from the list above):
Ale, beer, stout, lager
Brown rice syrup
Flavored instant coffee
Gravy cubes and mixes
Hot chocolate mixes
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (also called hydrolyzed plant protein or protein hydrolysate) if made from wheat
Imitation bacon and seafood
Malt vinegar (distilled vinegars are gluten-free)
Nondairy cream substitutes
Nuts, dry roasted
Prepared meats (bologna, lunch ham, and so on)
Sauces and sauce mixes
Soup and soup mixes
Soy sauce and shoyu tamari
Starch, when labeled as wheat starch, modified food starch, or vegetable starch
Suet in packets
Be careful of the following personal and over-the-counter items, which may contain small amounts of gluten:
Glue (US-made envelope glue is reportedly gluten-free)
Lipstick, gloss, and balms
Prescription and over-the-counter medications listing gluten, starch, flour, or dusting powder as excipients
Supplements listing gluten, starch, flour, or dusting powder as excipients
Bean or pea flours
Fruit, not dried or in commercial pie fillings
Meat, poultry, fish not processed with gluten-containing addititives, not breaded, and without gravies or sauces
Milk products, not malted or flavored
Nut and seed flours
Potato flour, potato starch
Rice and rice bran
Vegetables, not creamed or breaded
While wheat is one of the major gluten-containing grains, it is important to remember that “wheat-free” does not mean “gluten-free.” Make sure to carefully read food labels to determine if an item features gluten-containing items.
Prepare a note card with the foods that you need to avoid and bring this with you when food shopping or dining in restaurants. Communicate your special needs to the waiter or manager so that they can guide you to dishes that do not contain gluten.
Gluten allergies can often start in childhood as a result of early feeding of grains; consider breast-feeding your child for the first six months.
Be careful when buying grains from bulk bins. Make sure that the grains are adequately separated from the gluten-containing grains in order to avoid cross-contamination.
Are there any groups or books associated with this diet?:
Celiac Sprue Association/USA, Inc.
P.O. Box 31700
Omaha, NE 68131
Gluten Intolerance Group of North America
15110 10th Avenue SW, Suite A
Seattle, WA 98166
The Gluten-Free Gourmet: Living Well Without Wheat by Bette Hagman, New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2000.
More from the Gluten-Free Gourmet: Delicious Dining Without Wheat by Bette Hagman, New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2000.
Celiac Disease and Gluten-Free Diet Support Page
Celiac Disease Foundation
13251 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 1
Studio City, CA 91604-1838 818-990-2354
Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic by Peter H. Green and Rory Jones, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2006.
Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide by Shelley Case, Regina, Sk CA: Case Nutrition Consulting, 2003. Available from www.glutenfreediet.ca
Gluten-Free 101: Easy, Basic Dishes Without Wheat by Carol Fenster, Centennial, CO: Savory Palate, 2003.
Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free Cookbook series by Connie Sarros. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003-4.
The Gluten-Free Mall. Gluten-Free Foods for Celiac Disease and Special Diets. www.glutenfreemall.com
Gluten-Free Diet Guide for Families by The Children’s Digestive Health & Nutrition Foundation and The North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, 2005. Available at www.naspghan.org/assets/diseaseInfo/pdf/GlutenFreeDietGuide-E.pdf
Gluten in Pharmaceutical Products by Sister Jeanne Patricia Crowe and Nancy Patin Falini. Am J Health-Syst Pharm 2001;58:396-401. Available at www.medscape.com/viewarticle/406948
Eric R. Braverman, M.D.
Dr. Braverman is a Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brandeis University and NYU Medical School, did brain research at Harvard Medical School, and trained at an affiliate of Yale Medical School. He is acknowledged worldwide as an expert in brain-based diagnosis and treatment, and he lectures to and trains doctors in anti-aging medicine.