Ocnutrition’s Blog

Celiac Disease and the Gluten-Free Diet
May 31, 2012, 11:56 pm
Filed under: General Nutrition

ImageCeliac Disease is gaining popularity in news and health coverage as more people are being diagnosed. Celiac Disease is a digestive disorder caused by the inability to tolerate gluten.  Gluten is the plant-protein found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale.  When someone with Celiac Disease ingests gluten, it damages the tiny projections of the small intestine (villi) that are used to absorb nutrients.  If untreated, severe damage can occur to the small intestine causing nutrition and immune-related disorders that are potentially life-threatening.  

As a result, people with Celiac Disease must avoid gluten-containing grains and make healthy substitutions.  It is also recommended that people with Celiac Disease avoid oats, as they tend to be processed with wheat products.

Thankfully, almost all grocery stores carry forms of gluten-free flours and restaurants are developing gluten-free menus.  Living with this disease is no longer the inconvenience it once was, and in fact can create a diet with more variety.  Some common gluten-free flours include: buckwheat, corn flour, corn meal, rice flour, millet, and quinoa.  Safe grains and other starches include rice (brown, wild, red, short and long grain, jasmine, and basmati), risotto, popcorn, corn, potatoes, lentils, beans, and peas. 

Some symptoms of Celiac Disease include bloating and abdominal pain, diarrhea and/or constipation, unexplained weight loss or weight gain, weakness, fatigue, and bone or joint pain.  A blood test can screen for your risk of Celiac Disease, but cannot confirm it.  An intestinal biopsy is the most conclusive way to diagnose the disease.  Once diagnosed with Celiac Disease, it is time to start a life-long gluten-free diet.  After effectively removing gluten from the diet, the small intestine will begin to heal and in most cases without the use of medications.  

This information was brought to you by OC Nutrition, Your Trusted Source for Health & Nutrition Advice, and Lyndsay Romano, CSULB Dietetic Intern. OC Nutrition offers nutrition counseling services over the phone or in person in Newport Beach, Irvine, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Chino Hills and Long Beach. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact:

Kristy L. Richardson, MS, MPH, RD, CSSD, CHES
Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist
(949) 933-6788


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