When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, they experience an inflammatory immune response that can damage the small intestine and inhibit nutrient absorption. Symptoms may include diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, and fatigue. In addition to celiac disease, a gluten-free diet is beneficial for people with autism, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), leaky gut syndrome (LGS), Candida overgrowth and counteracting attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A gluten-free diet has been shown to boost energy levels, improve attention span, and speed digestion.
A gluten-free diet is one that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). Gluten causes inflammation in the small intestines of people with celiac disease.
Many grains and starches can be part of a gluten-free diet such as amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat, corn and cornmeal, flax, gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean), hominy (corn), millet, quinoa, rice, sorghum, soy, tapioca, teff.
However the following must be avoided – barley (malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar are usually made from barley), rye, triticale (a cross between wheat and rye) and wheat. Wheat includes bulgur, durum flour, farina, graham flour, kamut, semolina and spelt. Oats may also be contaminated with wheat.
Unless labeled ‘gluten-free’, foods produced with wheat that are to be avoided are beer, breads, cakes and pies, candies, cereals, cookies and crackers, croutons, French fries, gravies, imitation meat or seafood, matzo, pastas, processed luncheon meats, salad dressings, sauces, including soy sauce, seasoned rice mixes, seasoned snack foods, such as potato and tortilla chips, self-basting poultry, soups and soup bases, vegetables in sauce.
You should also beware of medications and vitamins, some of which use gluten as a binding agent.