Q. Which foods should someone with coeliac disease avoid?

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Monday, 15 July 2013.
Tagged: balanced diet, breakfast cereals, carbohydrates, food labels, food safety, gluten, gluten-free, grains, healthy eating, healthy lifestyle, low GI, meal planning, nutrients, nutrition, special diets

Q. Which foods should someone with coeliac disease avoid?

Q. I have recently been diagnosed with coeliac disease. Could you tell me which specific foods to avoid?

A. Coeliac disease (pronounced seel-ee-ack) is the result of a permanent intolerance to gluten. If left untreated, it damages the delicate inner lining of the bowel preventing food from being digested and absorbed properly. Symptoms most often reported have been related to an ‘irritable bowel' - bloating and tummy pain, diarrhoea, unpleasant wind (flatulence), weight loss and even vomiting.

Gluten is found in almost all foods derived from the grains wheat, rye, barley and triticale (a grain which is a cross between wheat and rye). Flour, bread, cereals, pasta, cakes, biscuits and porridge - all basic foods in our daily diet - must be avoided which can be quite difficult.

Oats could be gluten-free but in Australia are often mixed in with wheat during storage and transport, so end up being classed as 'not gluten-free' and so are off the list as well. Special single-oats products may soon come to the supermarket which will be handy.

Even small quantities of flour or starch thickeners in commercial foods are a problem and must be checked. Rice, potato and corn are gluten-free and should be substituted for gluten containing grains where ever possible.

It is essential you make an appointment with an accredited practicing dietitian. Call 1800 812 942 or visit the website of the Dietitians Association and click on "Find an Accredited Practicing Dietitian or APD".

I also recommend you become a member of the Coeliac Society as they offer telephone support, recipes, eating out and ingredient information as well as regular updates, all of whichmake life easier especially at the beginning

Catherine Saxelby

About the Author

Catherine Saxelby knows nutrition! She is an accredited nutritionist, food commentator, blogger and award-winning author. Her latest book Catherine Saxelby's Food and Nutrition Companion answers all those tricky questions on healthy eating, diets and supplements. It draws together a lifetime of advice and gives you all you need to know to eat right! It's a complete A to Z. A handy desk go-to reference.