Dieting and Fasting

Gluten Free Diet

You may have heard of people who suffer from celiac disease or gluten intolerance. But what exactly is gluten and gluten free diet? Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects the small intestine when someone eats foods containing gluten. It causes inflammation and damage to the villi.

What is a Gluten Free Diet?

If you have been medically diagnosed with celiac disease, then your immune system has been reacting to gluten and damaging your gut. To get better, you must remove gluten from your diet, which is the only treatment for celiac disease. Gluten is found in the grains of wheat, barley and rye.

You may have heard the term ‘gluten free diet’ before. This can be a bit confusing to some people because it isn’t a diet in how most people understand it. It’s not designed to help people lose weight. It’s just a way of eating that helps you heal your gut so you can start absorbing all the nutrients you need from your diet.

Here we briefly discuss some facts about a gluten free diet so you have the knowledge you need to change your diet after your diagnosis. 

Gluten Free Diet Effects

After your diagnosis of celiac disease and moving to a gluten free diet, you will feel better than your gut heals.

Some people feel significantly better within a few days of cutting out gluten, but some people may see more of a gradual improvement in their symptoms or that one symptom improves before another.

It can take between six months and up to five years (sometimes longer) for the gut damage caused by eating gluten to fully heal. Several factors are thought to be involved in the variable time taken for the gut to heal, including age and severity of gut damage at diagnosis.

If your symptoms have not improved or have become worse since starting a gluten free diet, speak to your family doctor, dietitian and/or gastroenterologist who are best placed to monitor your response to the gluten free diet.

Following Gluten Free Diet India

Following a gluten free diet is a learning process, not only for you but also for your family and friends. Mistakes can happen, especially if you have only recently been diagnosed.

If you have celiac disease and eat gluten by mistake, you would usually have symptoms a few hours after eating it and the symptoms can last from a few hours to several days. The effects vary from person to person and depend on how much gluten you’ve eaten, how sensitive you are and how long you have been on a gluten free diet.

If you make the occasional mistake and eat gluten by accident, it’s unlikely to cause lasting gut damage. It’s a learning process to follow a gluten free diet initially.

If you have diarrhoea or you are vomiting, it’s important to keep yourself well hydrated by drinking lots of water.

Some people find that taking medication to treat constipation, diarrhoea or headaches can ease symptoms, but check with your pharmacist or family doctor.

The most important thing is to get back onto your gluten free diet to prevent further symptoms.

If your symptoms are very severe or do not improve, speak to your doctor.

Learn about blood test for vitamins and minerals

Gluten Free Diet Chart

The most cost-effective and healthy way to follow the gluten-free diet is to seek these naturally gluten-free food groups.

Gluten Free Diet Food List

On the gluten free diet, you can eat any natural gluten free foods, such as;

  • meat
  • fish
  • fruit and vegetables
  • rice
  • potatoes
  • lentils
  • poultry
  • seafood
  • Dairy
  • Beans, legumes, and nuts

You can also eat processed foods that don’t contain gluten, such as ready meals and soups. Some ingredients are confusing as they can be made from wheat, but the last ingredient is gluten free, for example, glucose syrup. Read more about the information on labels and ingredients like this.

Some people can’t tolerate oats as they contain a protein called avenin. 

There are also gluten free substitute foods available, such as specially made gluten free bread, flour, pasta, crackers and biscuits. These are available free from other section of the supermarket and health food stores. Gluten free bread and flour mixes are also available on prescription for some people.

Gluten Free Diet Drink List

There are plenty of both alcoholic and soft drinks which don’t contain gluten;

  • fruit juice
  • flavoured water
  • fizzy drinks
  • cider
  • wine
  • sherry
  • spirits
  • port
  • liqueurs

The following drinks are NOT suitable for people with celiac disease;

  • barley squashes
  • beer
  • lager
  • stout
  • ales

Naturally Gluten Free Foods

The following grains and other starch-containing foods are naturally gluten free;

  • Rice
  • Cassava
  • Corn (maize)
  • Soy
  • Potato
  • Tapioca
  • Beans
  • Sorghum
  • Quinoa
  • Millet
  • Buckwheat groats (also known as kasha)
  • Arrowroot
  • Amaranth
  • Teff
  • Flax
  • Chia
  • Yucca
  • Gluten-free oats
  • Nut flours

There has been some research that some natural gluten free grains may contain gluten from cross-contact with gluten-containing grains through harvesting and processing. If you are concerned about the safety of a grain, purchase only versions that are tested for gluten and contain less than 20 ppm.

Is oats gluten free?

Oats are often harvested and processed with the same equipment that is used for wheat and are therefore easily contaminated. Research shows that pure, uncontaminated oats consumed in moderation (up to ½ cup dry, rolled oats daily) are tolerated by most people with celiac disease. Look for oats specifically labelled gluten free in all products containing oats, including granolas and granola bars.

Are cereals gluten free?

Many kinds of cereal contain gluten or wheat-based ingredients, but some do not. Be on the lookout for the “gluten free” label, but also realize that not all gluten free cereals will advertise so it is important to check the list of ingredients. Cornflakes and puffed rice cereal may contain malt flavouring or extract, which contains gluten.

Are soups gluten free?

Soups and sauces are one of the biggest sources of hidden gluten, as many companies use wheat as a thickener. It is always a good idea to read the label of any pre-prepared or canned soups and sauces, paying special attention to those that are cream-based.

Gluten free diet good or bad?

Cutting out gluten from your diet may seem like a difficult and limiting task. Fortunately, many healthy and delicious foods are naturally gluten free.

  • If you have celiac disease, avoid gluten for life.
  • A gluten free diet is the only treatment for the condition.
  • Gluten is found in the grains of wheat, barley and rye.
  • On the gluten free diet, you can eat many foods including meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, rice and potatoes.
  • You can also eat gluten free substitute foods and processed foods that don’t contain gluten.
  • You can tell whether gluten is in food by learning about allergen labelling. It sounds scary, but you get used to it once you know-how.

You may also interest in reading: Celiac Disease Test

Reference: coeliac.org.uk and celiac.org

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