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Gluten-Free Diet

Challenges of Gluten-Free Diets

Diets that are gluten-free can be challenging. They require a completely new approach to eating that affects a person's entire life. People with conditions that require a diet of gluten-free foods, along with their families, may find support groups to be particularly helpful as they learn to adjust to a new way of life. People with celiac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis have to be extremely careful about:
  • What they buy for lunch at school or work
  • What they purchase at the grocery store
  • What they eat at restaurants or parties
  • What they grab for a snack.
Eating out can be a challenge. If a person is in doubt about a menu item, ask the waiter or chef about ingredients and preparation, or ask if a gluten-free menu is available.

Unexpected Products That Contain Gluten

Gluten is also used in some medications. Check with your pharmacist to learn whether medications used contain gluten. Since gluten is also sometimes used as an additive in unexpected products, it is important to read all labels. If the ingredients are not listed on the product label, the manufacturer of the product should provide the list upon request. With practice, screening for gluten becomes second nature.

Examples for a Gluten-Free Diet

The following table provides examples of foods that are allowed and those that should be avoided when eating a diet that is gluten-free. This list is not complete, so people should discuss gluten-free food choices with a dietitian or healthcare provider. People with celiac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis should always read food ingredient lists carefully to make sure that the food does not contain gluten.
Food Categories
Foods Recommended
Foods to Omit
Breads, cereals, rice, and pasta: 6 to 11 servings each day
Serving size = 1 slice bread; 1 cup ready-to-eat cereal; ½ cup cooked cereal, rice, or pasta; ½ bun, bagel, or English muffin
Bread made from corn, rice, soy, arrowroot, corn, or potato starch; pea, potato, or whole-bean flour; or tapioca, sago, rice bran, cornmeal, buckwheat, millet, flax, teff, sorghum, amaranth, quinoa

Hot cereals made from soy, hominy, hominy grits, brown rice, white rice, buckwheat groats, millet, cornmeal, or quinoa flakes

Puffed corn, rice, or millet; other rice and corn made with allowed ingredients

Rice, rice noodles, or pastas made from allowed ingredients

Some rice crackers and cakes; popped corn cakes made from allowed ingredients
Breads or baked products containing wheat, rye, triticale, barley, oats, wheat germ, bran; graham, gluten, or durum flour; wheat starch, oat bran, bulgur, farina, wheat-based semolina, spelt, kamut

Cereals made from wheat, rye, triticale, barley, and oats or made with malt extract and malt flavorings

Pastas made from above ingredients

Most crackers
Use corn, rice, soy, arrowroot, tapioca, and potato flours or a mixture of them instead of wheat flours in recipes.

Experiment with gluten-free products. Look for gluten-free products at the supermarket, health food store, or directly from the manufacturer.
Vegetables: 3 to 5 servings each day (includes starchy vegetables)
Serving size = 1 cup raw leafy, ½ cup cooked or chopped, ¾ cup juice
All plain, fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables made with allowed ingredients
Any creamed or breaded vegetables (unless allowed ingredients are used); and canned baked beans

Some French fries
Buy plain, frozen, or canned vegetables seasoned with herbs, spices, or sauces made with allowed ingredients.
Fruits: 2 to 4 servings each day
Serving size = 1 medium size, ½ cup canned, ¾ cup juice, ¼ cup dried
All fruits and fruit juices
Some commercial fruit pie fillings, dried fruit
Milk, yogurt, and cheese: 2 to 3 servings each day
Serving size = 1 cup milk or yogurt, 1½ oz natural cheese, 2 oz processed cheese
All milk and milk products, except those made with gluten additives

Aged cheese
Malted milk

Some milk drinks, flavored or frozen yogurt
Contact the food manufacturer for product information if the ingredients are not listed on the label.
Meats, poultry, fish, dry beans and peas, eggs, and nuts:
2 to 3 servings or total of 6 oz daily
Serving size = 2 to 3 oz cooked; count 1 egg, ½ cup cooked beans, 2 Tbsp peanut butter, or ¼ cup nuts as 1 oz of meat
All meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs

Dry peas and beans, nuts, peanut butter, soybeans

Cold cuts, frankfurters, sausage without fillers
Any prepared with wheat, rye, oats, barley, gluten stabilizers, fillers (including some frankfurters, cold cuts, sandwich spreads, sausages, canned meats)

Self-basting turkey

Some egg substitutes
When dining out, select meat, poultry, or fish made without breading, gravies, or sauces.
Fats, snacks, sweets, condiments, and beverages
Butter, margarine, salad dressings, sauces, soups, desserts made with allowed ingredients

Sugar, honey, jelly, jam, hard candy, plain chocolate, coconut, molasses, marshmallows, meringues

Pure instant or ground coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, wine (made in United States), rum, alcohol distilled from cereals such as gin, vodka, whiskey

Most seasonings and flavorings
Commercial salad dressings, prepared soups, condiments, sauces, seasonings prepared with ingredients listed

Hot cocoa mixes, nondairy cream substitutes, flavored instant coffee, herbal tea

Beer, ale, malted beverages

Store all gluten-free products in your refrigerator or freezer, because they do not contain preservatives.

Avoid sauces, gravies, canned fish, products with hydrolyzed vegetable protein or hydrolyzed plant protein (HVP/HPP) made from wheat protein, and anything with questionable ingredients.
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Information on Celiac Disease

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