Healthy Eating

Gluten-Free Diet

What you need to know

 

What is gluten?

  • Gluten is the most common protein found in the grains of wheat, barley and rye.

  • Gluten provides the typical elastic consistency seen in the dough. Because of this physical property, gluten is widely used in the food industry to help foods maintain their shape.

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What is gluten-free diet?

  • A gluten-free diet excludes all foods that contain gluten.

  • The three major gluten sources are the grains wheat, barley and rye. As such, any foods and drinks derived from its flour and grains, such as bread, pasta and beer, must be removed from the diet. 

  • Gluten is widely used in the food industry as an additive for food consistency purposes. Therefore, it can be found in many types of foods, even unexpected ones.

Gluten Free

How can gluten-free diet help me?

  • The gluten-free diet is the only proven treatment for relieving celiac disease symptoms, correcting and preventing nutrient deficiencies.

  • In general, symptoms improve in the first 2-4 weeks after starting on the gluten-free diet.

  • Although a strict gluten-free diet is required for patients with celiac disease, it may not be necessary for those with gluten sensitivity.

  • Gluten-free diet helps to reduce inflammation and improving nutrient absorption.

Healthy Woman

Are there any foods naturally gluten-free?

  • Yes! Fish, meat, eggs, fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free.

  • Natural gluten-free grains include quinoa and amaranth​. 

Healthy Food

Are there any downfalls to a gluten-free diet?

  • Despite the improvement in symptoms, a gluten-free diet can be nutritionally poor

  • A gluten-free diet is often high in energy, sugar and fat, while low in fiber,  vitamins D and B, folate, and the minerals calcium, iron, and zinc.

  • The risk of obesity can be increased with a GF diet because of its high glycemic index.

  • Routine dietary counselling and monitoring are important to ensure that our patients meet the recommended daily intake of key vitamins and minerals. 

1) Vici G, et al. Gluten free diet and nutrient deficiencies: A review. Clinical Nutrition 2016

2) Diez-Sampedro A. et al,  A Gluten-Free Diet, Not an Appropriate Choice without a Medical Diagnosis. Nutrients, 2019.

Nutritionist

Can I get enough fibre on a GF diet?

  • GF diet is deficient in fibre and can lead to an increased risk of constipation.

  • It is recommended to choose fibre-enriched pseudocereals (fruits or seeds of non-grass species that are consumed in a very similar way as cereals) such as amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat since these provide high sources of fibre compared to other plant foods such as fruits and nuts.

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 Can I eat oats?

  • Oats do not contain gluten, so pure, uncontaminated oats are safe for most patients with celiac disease.

  • However, rare adverse immune reactions in celiac patients exposed to oat proteins can occur and, for this reason, the introduction of oat into the diet of celiac patients should be done with care and only when patients are in remission.

  • Oats are often packaged/grow in proximity to other gluten-containing grains such as wheat and barley, leading to contamination.

  • It is recommended that patients with gluten-related disorders look for a gluten-free label on the oat packages.

1) Hoffmanová I. et al, The Pros and Cons of Using Oat in a Gluten-Free Diet for Celiac Patients, Nutrients, 2019

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