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Ask an Expert - Celiac Disease

My daughter recently was diagnosed with celiac disease, and she must avoid foods that contain gluten. Can you tell me more about the disease and what foods we need to avoid?
Ask an Expert - Celiac Disease

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By Yeong Rhee, Ph.D., R.D., Associate Professor, Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences, NDSU

Celiac disease is an immune response to gluten, which is the storage protein found in the grain of crops such as wheat, barley and rye. Eating gluten damages the lining (villi) of the small intestine, which affects food digestion and nutrient absorption.

After eating or inhaling any gluten/gluten-containing food products, your daughter may experience abdominal bloating/pain, diarrhea or stools that are abnormal in appearance, odor or quantity. In addition, growth failure/weight loss, weakness/fatigue, itchy skin rash with blisters, and mood changes may result.

Be sure to read food labels to identify the products that contain gluten. Wheat-free does not mean gluten-free. Check the allergen information on the food label, and contact the food manufacturer if you need more information. Also read labels for inactive ingredients (fillers) in medication/dietary supplements. These are examples of gluten-containing foods or ingredients:

  • Wheat, including einkorn, emmer, spelt, kamut, durum, graham, and semolina
  • Wheat starch, wheat bran, wheat germ, cracked wheat, and hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Barley, including malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar
  • Rye
  • Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
  • Oats (except pure, uncontaminated oats). People with celiac disease may tolerate a small amount of oats.

Helpful hints for adapting to the new diets:

  • Alter home recipes to use ingredients that do not contain gluten.
  • Keep a food dairy.
  • Use commercial or homemade substitutes
  • Check with local grocery stores. Many local grocery stores have a list of gluten-free products available.
  • Avoid cross-contamination.
  1. Keep two toasters at home and designate one for gluten-free food.
  2. Keep a separate cupboard for the gluten-free condiments.
  3. Keep separate jars for condiemtns such as peanut butter, jam, mayonnaise and butter.
  4. Order a meal frmo teh menu instead of selecting foods from buffet lines.
  5. Avoid deep-fried foods: gluten-free foods might be fried in the same oil as battered and breaded foods such as fried chicken.
For more information, visit the Celiac Disease Foundation website at
The following foods can be substituted for gluten-containing products or as snacks:
Amaranth Potatoes Seeds
Arrowroot Rice Rice cakes
Beans, legumes Tapioca Plain, unflavored milk or yogurt
Buckwheat Sago Plain, cooked eggs
Corn Sorghum Cheeses
Flaxseed Soy Fresh fruit
Legumes Teff Fresh vegetables
Millet Wild rice Meat (unprocessed)
Quinoa Nuts Most juices

Filed under: 2012 esph magazine
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