Gluten Intolerance: Against the Grain (cont.)

Dietary counseling is even more important for children with celiac disease and their parents because growing bodies have special nutrient needs. "If you have a child with celiac disease, you may want to consider a gluten-free household to make life easier," Pietzak says.

A gluten-free eating plan seems restrictive because it eliminates many types of grain products such as breakfast cereals, breads, and pasta. But it's not as harsh as it sounds.

"I tell people that the foods you should be eating a lot of anyway, such as fresh meats, fruits, vegetables, milk, and legumes are naturally gluten-free," Case says. The key is knowing which grains to eat and which to avoid.

Don't eat:

  • Wheat and all its forms, including semolina, splelt, kamut, einkorn, and farro
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Triticale
  • Oat bran
  • Wheat germ
  • Bran
  • Graham, gluten, or durum flour
  • Farina

Do eat:

  • Amaranth
  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat
  • Popcorn
  • Cornmeal (polenta and tortillas)
  • Millet
  • Breads, cereals, crackers, and pasta made of corn, rice, potato, soy, arrowroot, tapioca, sago, flax, and hominy.

What about oats? Oats for celiac disease has been controversial, but recent research has spurred many organizations to give oats the thumbs up. The problem is possible contamination of oats with other gluten-containing grains. Case says pure oats - those not contaminated by other grains - are recommended by a majority of celiac organizations in Canada and the U.S.

Published July 31, 2006.

SOURCES: Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, Director of Sports Medicine Nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh. Shelley Case, B.Sc., RD, Case Nutrition Consulting. Michelle Pietzak, MD, Director of the Center for Celiac Research-West, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. Archives of Internal Medicine, 2003;163:286-292. NIH Consensus Development Conference on Celiac Disease, June 28-30, 2004.

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Last Editorial Review: 8/11/2006