To date, the only treatment for celiac disease is strict adherence to a gluten-free diet.Fruit Veg

People who follow a standard gluten-free diet may not get enough iron, calcium, fiber, or whole grains. 1

But if you focus on nutrition and balance, the gluten-free diet is very healthy.

KEY POINTS:

  • A healthy gluten-free diet contains fruits and vegetables, whole grains labeled gluten-free, legumes, lean protein, nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy or other calcium and vitaminDried Beans D sources, and healthy fats. 
    Click here for a 15-page guide to the gluten-free diet by Food Category. 
  • Focus on adding a variety of new and healthy gluten-free foods to your diet.
  • Avoid eating too many gluten-free processed foods. They tend to be low in fiber, vitamins and minerals. These foods can be high in sugar, fat and calories.

Example:

NUTRIENTS GLUTEN FREE MUFFIN GLUTEN CONTAINING MUFFIN
Calories 210 120
Carbohydrates (grams) 39 25
Fat (grams) 3.5 1
Fiber (grams) 1 1

Reference: Dennis M. Weight Gain: A Common, and Sometimes Unwelcome, Measure of Healing. In Real Life with Celiac Disease: Troubleshooting and Thriving Gluten Free . Dennis M, Leffler D, eds. AGA Press, Bethesda, MD, 2010.

  • Your doctor or dietitian may suggest gluten-free vitamin and/or mineral supplements to balance your diet.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE: 

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  • Eating healthy is more than just following the gluten-free diet. A healthy balance of key nutrients is very important.
  • Meet with a dietitian skilled in celiac disease to review and balance your diet.
  • Extra gluten-free vitamin and mineral supplements may be needed.

References:

  1. Decher, N., Parrish, C. R. "Balanced and Delicious: A Healthy Gluten-Free Diet" Real Life with Celiac Disease: Troubleshooting and Thriving Gluten Free . Dennis M, Leffler D, eds. AGA Press, Bethesda, MD, 2010. 

    Revision Date: 8-10-12 
    Author: Melinda Dennis, MS, RD, LDN 
    Editors: Mary Kay Sharrett MS, RD, LDN, CNSD and Daniel Leffler, MD, MS

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