Q:

What foods are avoided on a gluten-free diet?

A:

Quick Answer

On a gluten-free diet, food that contains wheat, barley and rye cannot be eaten. Common sources are pasta, bread, cereal and beer. Depending on the strictness of the diet, cross-contaminated foods like oats cannot be eaten.

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Full Answer

Barley is a common ingredient in malt, malt vinegar and malt flavoring. Wheat flour is found in spelt, semolina, durum flour and farina. A fourth grain, triticale, is a cross-breed between wheat and rye and also contains gluten.

Foods that contain gluten include gravy, imitation or processed meats, salad dressings, soups and French fries. Food additives such as modified starch contain gluten. Certain vitamins and medications use gluten as a binding agent.

Cross-contamination can occur any time utensils, surfaces or appliances are shared. Some foods are labeled with a "may contain gluten" warning if cross-contamination is likely, but including this warning is up to the discretion of the manufacturer. Some foods are labeled as wheat-free but contain other gluten products. The label "gluten-free" refers to foods that contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten.

Certain grains such as rice, soy, tapioca, buckwheat and cornmeal are naturally gluten-free. Fresh and non-processed meats or fish, vegetables, fruits, beans and dairy products are gluten-free as well.

Gluten-free diets are the only treatment for celiac disease. However, because so many foods contain gluten, people interested in going gluten-free are at risk for nutritional deficiencies.

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