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Gluten Free Diet

The Gluten Free Diet

By Valerie Mellema

The gluten free diet is a diet plan recommended for the treatment of celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder of the small bowel that occurs in genetically predisposed people of all ages. The condition is caused by a reaction to gluten protein that is found in wheat.

The gluten free diet is free of all foods that are derived from the gluten-containing cereals, including:

  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Oats
  • Triticale
  • Malt

The majority of these people can tolerate oat products; however, there is some controversy over whether or not oat products should be included in the diet.

There are several grains and starches that are considered to be acceptable in this diet. The most frequently used starches are:

  • Maize - Corn
  • Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Tapioca

Other grains and starch in the diet include:

    Amaranth
  • Arrowroot
  • Millet
  • Montina
  • Quinoa
  • Sorghum
  • Lupine
  • Yam
  • Taro
  • Sweet Potato
  • Teff

There are some other starches used in the diet as well including bean, nut flours and soybean. These add to the protein and dietary fiber of the diet. Buckwheat is also used and despite its name it is not related to wheat. However, many buckwheat mixes are include wheat and this would not be acceptable for the diet. Gram flour, which comes from chickpeas, is gluten-free as well.

Those individuals who are attempting to follow a completely gluten free diet should know that many over-the-counter medications and vitamins include ingredients including gluten.

The gluten free diet is one that must be strictly followed by people with celiac disease. Many physicians believe that the diet may be helpful for those who suffer from other autoimmune disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis. It is believed that the diet may also assist those with autism and ADHD.

Removing gluten from the diet is not easy, as wheat and related grains are a large part of our diets as well as a component in many types of foods. People with celiac disease cannot eat gluten-containing foods without suffering from diarrhea, gas, abdominal cramps, bloating, weight loss and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Some patients can tolerate oat products, while others cannot. Staying on a gluten-free diet can significantly help these people with their condition and eliminating gluten from the diet provides the lining of the intestine the chance to heal. People with celiac disease have to remain on this diet throughout life.



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