Top 10 Foods to Avoid with Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that is characterized by damage to the small intestine. When someone with celiac disease ingests gluten, the body responds by attacking the tissues in the small intestine. This can create uncomfortable symptoms like stomach bloating, diarrhea and cramping, with some experiencing what may seem like sensations of constant indigestion. Over time, celiac disease can lead to weight loss from malabsorption, fatigue and in some cases, anemia. The only treatment for the condition is dietary restriction, and there are many foods to avoid with celiac disease both for direct and indirect reasons. We have compiled a list of the top ten foods to abstain from when dealing with celiac disease including both foods that contain gluten as well as some surprises that do not, but may still be responsible for negative reactions.
1. Wheat: Of course the number one entry for foods to avoid with celiac disease is wheat. Wheat is found in many, many products and, many manufactured foods can be contaminated with it just as a byproduct of production. It is important to read packaging and labels to see if other purchased foods may have come into contact with wheat in order to reduce the risk of symptoms. Wheat is often referred to by other names too. Avoid products that contain wheat monikers like durum flour, kamut, spelt, semolina, bulgur and farina, these are all foods high in gluten in disguise.
2. Beer: Unfortunately, celiac disease does make beer drinking impossible, unless options that are gluten free are used instead of traditional brews. There are some gluten free beers that exist, but they are often more difficult to find and can be pricey. But, based on its malt and barley base, beer is a big no-no for celiac disease sufferers and those with gluten intolerance.
3. Lunch Meat: It may seem odd that lunchtime proteins are considered foods to avoid with celiac disease. However, this is not because of their meaty composition, rather the processing of the lunch meats that can often add in gluten containing elements. It is best that lunchmeats that do not indicate that they are gluten free be avoided by the patients affected by Celiac disease.
4. Coffee: Coffee is something that celiac sufferers should avoid for numerous reasons, but mainly due to its possibly cross reactive effects in sufferers. Coffee contains a protein that gluten antibodies react to which can lead to symptoms and reactions that are undesirable. Even people who are abstaining from gluten may find that continual coffee consumption leaves lingering symptoms. Coffee may also exacerbate existing celiac symptoms and make them worse or more extreme.
5. Milk Chocolate: The sweetened candy bar base contains two foods to avoid with celiac disease, sugar and dairy, that can make existing symptoms worse or bring about new ones. Many people who are unable to ingest gluten also have reactions to protein, and sugar just worsens this. Sugar is one of most common added contributors to celiac disease symptoms. Thus milk chocolate that combines both can be even more problematic for Celiac sufferers.
6. Dressings and Sauces: There are numerous reasons that salad dressings and sauces like soy should be avoided by anyone hoping to avoid celiac disease bloating, gassiness and cramping. On one hand, many of these are higher in sugar and therefore very likely to cause or trigger symptoms or worsen existing ones. They also often contain gluten themselves so unless labeled gluten free, they may contain gluten or come into contact with it during processing. Most types of gravies are also foods to avoid with celiac disease as most contain gluten themselves and other cross reactors like dairy.
7. Potatoes: Potatoes are a starchy part of many healthy diets, but they, alongside other members of the nightshade family tree, can cause digestive troubles for celiac sufferers. Potatoes are high in saponins that can create indigestion like symptoms from creating extremely tiny intestinal perforations. For existing food sensitivity sufferers, this can lead to worsening or unbearable symptoms.
8. Overly Processed and Refined Foods: Over processed ingestibles are foods to avoid with celiac disease because their digestion is difficult even in healthy people. They are also packed with sugar that is a cross reactor to celiac disease and can worsen symptoms. Artificial sweeteners are no substitute for high sugar foods though as they come with their own set of side effects for celiac sufferers.
9. French Fries and Potato Chips: There are some variants of the favorite side dishes that are gluten free. However, regular potato chips and fries are not celiac disease friendly and can lead to symptoms when the gluten is consumed.
10. Oats: Because of the processing and manufacture of oats, it is very likely that they will come into contact with gluten products. Therefore it is typically advisable that only oats that are determined to be gluten free be included in the diet of celiac disease sufferers.
The only proper method of treatment for the autoimmune condition related to gluten is a restrictive gluten free diet. This includes the avoidance of gluten containing foods as well as those that may come into contact with them. Additionally, cross reactive edibles are also foods to avoid with celiac disease if symptoms still persist once a gluten free diet has been started, as products like sugars and dairy may further contribute to symptom formation.
However, it is abundantly important that no dietary changes be made until a celiac disease diagnosis has been made following the appropriate medical tests. This is because if a person commits to eliminating gluten before having lab work done in order to confirm or rule out a celiac disease diagnosis, the test results can be markedly altered and can return incorrect results. Therefore while diet is an important consideration and the only treatment for celiac disease, its best only implemented following the advice of a healthcare provider.