Subscribe to our Newsletter:
Healthy Diet Plans >>  Types of Diet >>  Celiac Disease Diet

Celiac Disease Diet

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease wherein the small intestines of an individual are damaged. Those suffering from celiac disease are genetically predisposed towards this disease, and it may be seen in an individual right from middle infancy onwards. In those suffering from celiac disease, there is an allergic reaction caused in the lining of the small intestine to gluten (proteins) found in rye, barley, wheat, and to some amount, in oats. As a result of this inflammation, the small intestines are unable to absorb dietary nutrients properly. Symptoms of this disease vary from individual to individual.
So you may find one person with symptoms such as abdominal pain and diarrhea, while another person might be depressed or irritable. Although these symptoms are mainly to do with the digestive system, one may find symptoms occurring in other body parts as well. Symptoms to do with the digestive system such as constipation, vomiting, weight loss, and abdominal pain are more frequent in young children and infants. Adults, on the other hand, are more likely to exhibit symptoms such as joint or bone pain, fatigue, seizures, missed monthly periods, anxiety, and depression.  In certain people suffering from celiac disease, one may not see any symptoms, but one may still develop problems related to the disease over a period of time.   

The most effective treatment for this disease is a celiac disease diet. A celiac disease diet plan involves consuming meals that are gluten-free. Foods and products made from wheat, rye, barley, and oats should be avoided. Gluten is found in cereal, pasta, most grains, and foods that are processed, so one needs to be very careful of what one is eating.  One thing that people suffering from this disease need to remember is that celiac disease diet restrictions need to be followed for life. This is because adding gluten to the diet once again would cause the problem to recur. In spite of these celiac disease diet restrictions, people suffering from this disease can eat a diet that is not only well-balanced but also consists of a wide variety of foods. They can add rice, potato, quinoa, bean, soy, amaranth, or buckwheat flour to their celiac disease diet food list. Those following the celiac disease diet need not worry as gluten-free pasta, bread, and other items are available in stores that have organic foods on their shelves. In the alternative, they can also order gluten-free products online from companies that cater to specific needs.  Celiac disease diet products are today available in many mainstream stores as well.  

“Plain” fish, rice, vegetables, fruits, and rice are gluten-free and can be added to a celiac disease diet food list. In fact, recent evidence suggests that one can also safely consume small quantities of oats as part of their diet. Care however has to be taken to make sure that the oats do not get contaminated with gluten (wheat) while being processed. It is therefore important that celiac disease patients should work in close tandem with their dietician or healthcare team and decide whether to add oats to their celiac disease diet menu. While following a celiac disease diet, “what not to eat” is the big question. One needs to avoid wheat and wheat products such as durum flour, bromated flour, enriched flour, ograham flour, self-rising flour, semolina, phosphated flour, einkorn, spelt, wheat germ, hydrolyzed wheat protein, cracked wheat, wheat bran, and wheat starch. In addition rye, barley, and triticale that is a cross between rye and wheat also need to be avoided. As mentioned earlier, following a celiac disease diet includes avoiding processed foods such as candy, communion wafers, French fries, imitation fish, vegetables in sauce, soups tortilla chips which are seasoned, matzo, rice mixes, brown rice syrup, bouillon cube, cold cuts, salami, sausage, and hot dogs.  Keep in mind however that this is not an exhaustive list, it is best to consult a physician or dietitian whose specialty is celiac disease.

Following a celiac disease diet plan calls for a number of changes in a persons eating habits. Those who have been recently diagnosed with celiac disease can take help from support groups and learn how to adapt to a different diet. Eating at a party or in a restaurant can be quite a challenging task for persons with celiac disease as they need to be very careful about what they eat. The best thing that one can do in this situation is to check with the chef or waiter as to what the ingredients used to prepare the dish and also check if a celiac disease diet menu is available. In addition to following a celiac disease diet, one should also be aware that gluten is found in certain medications as well. It is therefore important that individuals with celiac disease to check with their pharmacist if wheat is contained in the medications that have been prescribed to them. Certain products such as play dough and lipstick also contain gluten, and it is important that one learns to read product labels.  

Planning a celiac disease diet for children can be quite a challenging task for parents. The challenge lies in things such as finding treats that are not only gluten-free but also ‘fun’, coming up with some innovative ideas for sports snacks, lunches, and dinners, preparing the child to deal with parties, Halloween, and other important days, and teaching kids to read labels and making them aware of what additives and ingredients are safe and forbidden as far as their diet is concerned. 

To sum up, here are a few points a person suffering from celiac disease needs to remember:
• They need to avoid products that contain gluten.
• If the disease is not treated, it will damage the small intestine and hamper proper absorption of nutrients. 
• People who are suffering from celiac disease, if not treated, may develop problems such as anemia, osteoporosis, and cancer.
• A dietitian can teach an individual suffering from celiac disease to select foods that are gluten-free and provide him/her with support to control the disease.
Submitted on January 16, 2014