GIG’s Gluten-Free Diet & Drug Instruction

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Published October 17, 2019


The gluten-free diet can provide adequate nutrition while eliminating wheat, rye and barley from the diet as long as gluten-free grains with high nutritional value are used and the diet includes a variety of nutritious foods. Gluten is a generic term referring to storage proteins in grains. The fractions of gluten protein in wheat which are problematic in people with gluten-related disorders are gliadin and glutenin. There are equivalent toxic protein fractions in barley and rye. Research on oats indicates small quantities (1/2 cup dry) are safe for most people with celiac disease. Consult with your dietitian or physician before consuming. The safest oat products are those that have been certified gluten-free. While products labeled gluten-free should comply with the FDA definition of containing no more than 20 ppm of gluten, this is not third-party verified. GFCO’s standard for gluten-free is 10 ppm of gluten or less. 

Gluten damages the intestine of individuals with celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis (a skin manifestation of celiac disease). It is not thought to cause damage to the intestine of those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, but it still has an adverse effect on the health of people with this condition.

When all sources of gluten are removed from the diet of individuals with celiac disease, the intestine is able to regenerate and normal function is usually restored. Similarly, a gluten-free diet leads to resolution of symptoms in individuals with non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Gluten in many foods

The gluten from these grains may be present in foods either as a basic ingredient (that is, listed as wheat, rye or barley), or added as a derivative when a food is processed or prepared. READING LABELS CAREFULLY IS VERY IMPORTANT! See our article: 3 Tips for Gluten-Free Label Reading

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This article has been assessed and approved by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

Getting Started on a Gluten-Free Diet: A Step-By-Step Guide