Gluten-Free Diet for Celiac Disease

 Gluten-free diet for celiac disease

Gluten-free-diet-celiac disease
Celiac disease, or gluten intolerance, is a chronic autoimmune disease triggered by gluten in a genetically predisposed individual. 

Gluten is a protein contained in certain cereals and is very common in the diet. The gluten-free diet aims to eliminate foods containing gluten to reduce the symptoms linked to their ingestion: abdominal cramps, vomiting, diarrhoea, chronic fatigue, etc.

The main points of the gluten-free diet:
  • Learning to read labels
  • Knowing what foods are naturally gluten-free
  • Maintain optimal micronutrient intake
  • Ban foods containing gluten
  • Beware of foods containing traces of gluten

Benefits of the gluten-free diet

The gluten-free diet has many benefits, it allows:
  • Learning to recognize gluten-containing foods
  • Alleviating the symptoms of celiac disease
  • Reduce chronic fatigue
  • Decrease stomach aches
  • Lose weight, in some cases
  • Finding gluten-free alternatives
  • Maintain optimal nutrient intake

 Going on a gluten-free diet to lose weight? 

     A gluten-free diet can help you lose weight because it removes gluten-rich foods that are also high in calories: bread, pasta, biscuits, pastries, etc. 

     Reducing these foods may indeed make you lose some weight, but it should not be the primary objective. 

     On the other hand, by systematically replacing these foods with their gluten-free equivalents you should not see any weight loss.  Finally, in cases of proven celiac disease, malabsorption can also lead to weight loss. 

     Gluten-free foods to fight stomach aches? 

     The only remedy to reduce the intestinal pain induced by celiac disease is the total elimination of gluten from the diet. 

     It can also be recommended to reduce the consumption of fermentable vegetables and legumes to reinforce the action of gluten-free foods. 

A gluten-free diet against chronic fatigue? 

     Chronic fatigue is one of the symptoms of celiac disease linked to the malabsorption of vitamins.  However, there is no evidence that a gluten-free diet can solve the problems of chronic fatigue in cases other than this one. 

     Celiac disease affects 0.5 to 1% of the population.  However, it is considered that more and more people in Europe are becoming intolerant to gluten to a greater or lesser extent. 

     If you have any doubts about your gluten tolerance, consult a dietician who can help you find suitable solutions. 

Dietary recommendations for creating a gluten-free menu

     The gluten-free diet is a particularly difficult diet to follow at first. Indeed, gluten is a protein found in many common foods and is also widely used by the food industry to give texture to various products. 

     The first goal of the gluten-free diet in celiac disease is, therefore, to learn how to detect the presence of gluten, and then to find equivalences that will allow you to maintain an optimal nutritional state.

Which gluten-free foods should be consumed in cases of gluten intolerance?

labeled-gluten-free-celiac disease

In the case of gluten intolerance, it is recommended to cook as much as possible to avoid "hidden" traces of gluten in many industrial products. 

Many certified gluten-free substitutes also exist, but the best thing is to find equivalences by integrating more naturally gluten-free products into the diet.

Naturally gluten-free foods

     When you start a gluten-free diet, you often think of gluten-free alternatives: bread, pasta, cookies, etc. However, many foods are naturally gluten-free and allow you to eat well without spending more money.

     To help you, here is a list of naturally gluten-free cereals and their derivatives that you can eat without depriving yourself of.

  • Gluten-free staple foods: Derivatives

  • Rice: Rice flour, rice noodles, rice bran, rice cakes
  • Maize: Maize flour, starch, maize semolina, polenta, maize starch, maize germ, and bran
  • Potato: Potato flour, potato starch, mashed potatoes
  • Tapioca: Tapioca flour, tapioca starch
  • Arrow-root: Starch
  • Soy flour: soy protein, soy flakes, soya beans
  • Chickpeas: Chickpea flour
  • Quinoa: Flake and flour
  • Buckwheat Flour: oatmeal, buckwheat flakes, and puffed buckwheat
  • Amaranth flour: Amaranth flour
  • Millet: Flour and millet flakes
  • Sorghum: Sorghum flour
  • Teff: Flour and whole teff

Vitamins and minerals

Celiac disease causes intestinal malabsorption, so it must be compensated for by providing sufficient iron, vitamins A, D, E, K and calcium through the diet

A varied and balanced diet ensures that you do not become deficient. The absence of gluten does not in itself pose a problem of deficiency, it is a celiac disease that disturbs the absorption of nutrients and requires special attention.

Finding equivalences

It may seem a bit sad to eliminate all gluten-containing foods from the diet. It is therefore important to take the time to find equivalents that will satisfy you both visually and tastefully.

Cooking at home

Home cooking is the best way to ensure that food is gluten-free. Above all, cooking means being able to control all the ingredients in a recipe

     In addition, products that have already been prepared sometimes use trace amounts of gluten. It is therefore difficult to detect it and to avoid the symptoms associated with its ingestion.

Reading labels

To avoid the risk of consuming food containing gluten, the first tip is to learn how to identify it on the labels of common products.

Here are some terms that indicate the presence of gluten in a product:
  • Wheat starch
  • Malt Flavouring
  • Oats and derivatives (flakes, flour, etc.)
  • Beer
  • Yeast
  • Wheat, wheat derivatives and wheat flour
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Spelt
  • Malt, barley or malted barley extracts
  • White flour, rye flour, gluten flour, barley flour, Kamut flour or spelt flour
  • Wheat germ and wheat germ oil
  • Malted milk and malt liquor
  • Rye, seitan
  • Malt syrup
  • Glucose syrup
  • Oat bran and wheat bran
Other recommended foods:
  • Good fats
  • Lean proteins
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Dietary fibre

Gluten-containing foods to be avoided in case of intolerance

gluten-free-food-celiac disease

     In the case of gluten intolerance, certain foods containing gluten should be banned from the diet. 

     In order to create a gluten-free menu, it is first of all essential to know which 5 cereals contain gluten. You should also be wary of products containing trace amounts of gluten, such as certain industrial products that have already been prepared.

 Rye, Oats, Wheat, Barley, Triticale

To be more specific, here is a list of some foods that contain gluten:

  • Breakfast cereals
  • Wheat starch
  • Malt Flavouring
  • Oats and derivatives (flakes, flour, etc.)
  • Beer
  • Wheat, wheat derivatives and wheat flour
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Couscous
  • Spelt
  • Malt, barley or malted barley extracts
  • White flour, rye flour, gluten flour, barley flour, Kamut flour or spelt flour
  • Wheat germ and wheat germ oil
  • Malted milk and malt liquor
  • Noodles, pasta
  • Rye, seitan
  • Malt syrup
  • Glucose syrup
  • Oat bran and wheat bran

Beware of gluten traces

     Many foods contain traces of gluten because it is used for its elasticity and sometimes to give texture. It is now mandatory to indicate this in the list of ingredients but the information is still a little difficult to find. Indeed, it is not always easy to suspect the presence of gluten when it is in trace amounts.

Here is a list of some products containing traces of gluten:

  • Broth cubes
  • Surimi
  • Prepared dishes
  • Meat or vegetarian preparations
  • Industrial sauces
  • Cheese type Blue
  • Cream desserts
  • Certain low-fat dairy products
  • Vacuum-packed ham

     For more simplicity, there is a "crossed-out wheat ear" logo certified by the AFDIAG which guarantees the absence of gluten in a food.

Industrial products and ready meals

     To stay healthy and avoid the symptoms associated with gluten ingestion, there is nothing better than avoiding industrial products and prepared meals. 

     They do not allow precise control of the ingredients used in their composition. The gluten-free logo is a guarantee of gluten-free products, but this is not enough. 

     Indeed, in the case of malabsorption, it is recommended to avoid saturated fats and sugar in favour of good proteins, Omega-3 and fibre. However, the majority of industrial products do not have optimal nutritional intake.

Other foods not recommended:

  • Saturated fats
  • Sweet and refined products
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco

Practical daily tips for following the gluten-free diet

gluten-free-celiac disease
  • Reading the labels
  • Replace wheat flour with chickpea or rice flour in your pastries.
  • To thicken sauces, you can use cornstarch instead of flour.
  • Incorporate quinoa, rice or millet instead of traditional pasta
  • Making your bread gluten-free from special flour mixes
  • Cooking to the max
  • Avoid low-fat products
  • Eat three meals a day plus 1 to 2 snacks if necessary.
  • Add lentils or chickpeas to salads and soups to replace starchy gluten-containing foods.

Samir Sali

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