Avoid all food and drinks containing:
Barley (malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar are usually made from barley)
Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
Many grains and starches can be part of a gluten-free diet:
Corn and cornmeal
Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean)
Many healthy and delicious foods are naturally gluten-free:
Beans, seeds, nuts in their natural, unprocessed form
Fresh meats, fish and poultry (not breaded, batter-coated or marinated)
Fruits and vegetables
Most dairy products
Switching to a gluten-free diet is a big change and, like anything new, it takes some getting used to. You may initially feel deprived by the diet's restrictions.
But based on what is currently known, it is a big leap to blame gluten for autism, to cite one example, and an even bigger jump to prescribe gluten-free eating as a treatment for it.
There’s another group of gluten-free converts: those who blame gluten for a wide range of medical conditions. There is evidence of an overlap between celiac disease and other autoimmune disorders, particularly type 1 diabetes.
In addition, a growing number of people fall into a gray area: they don’t have celiac disease, but they do have a hard time digesting gluten. There are no tests for this problem, aside from trial and error with a gluten-free diet, reports the June 2009 issue of the Harvard Health Letter.
Some people diagnosing themselves with gluten intolerance really have it — but, by going on an unsupervised gluten-free diet, are masking the signs that would allow a doctor to get an exact diagnosis and look for related problems, such as fragile bones, says Peter Green, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University in New York.
Marketers estimate that 15% to 25% of consumers want gluten-free foods — though doctors estimate just 1% have celiac disease
If a person with the disorder continues to eat gluten, studies have shown that he or she will increase their chances of gastrointestinal cancer by a factor of 40 to 100 times that of the normal population. Further, gastrointestinal carcinoma or lymphoma develops in up to 15 percent of patients with untreated or refractory celiac disease.
For now, a gluten-free diet is the only way people with celiac disease can deal with their condition.
The symptoms can range from mild weakness, bone pain, and aphthous stomatitis to chronic diarrhea, abdominal bloating, and progressive weight loss.
Those affected suffer damage to the villi (shortening and villous flattening) in the lamina propria and crypt regions of their intestines when they eat specific food-grain antigens (toxic amino acid sequences) that are found in wheat, rye, and barley.
Once thought of as uncommon in the U.S., celiac disease is now believed to occur in 1 in every 133 people. Because the symptoms of this disease can be similar to other gastrointestinal diseases, it can be easily misdiagnosed, meaning it may be even more common than the numbers show.
Symptoms of celiac disease can range from the classic features, such as diarrhea, weight loss, and malnutrition, to latent symptoms such as isolated nutrient deficiencies but no gastrointestinal symptoms.
Celiac disease, also known as gluten intolerance, is a genetic disorder
The gluten-free diet is a treatment for celiac disease.
Gluten is a combination of two proteins, gliadin and glutenin, found in certain grains (including wheat, barley, rye and oats). Gluten's function is to form a sticky protein that provides the elasticity and structure to baked breads. It is the gliadin portion in gluten that elicits the allergic response, which varies in severity and manifestation of symptoms in those with this condition. The only treatment is complete removal of gluten from the diet, something that can be nearly impossible to achieve.