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Celiac Disease: Eating a Gluten-Free Diet

Celiac disease is a problem some people have with foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a type of protein found in the grains wheat, barley, rye, and triticale (a wheat-rye cross). When a person with celiac disease eats gluten, it triggers an immune response that is not normal. This damages the small intestine.

Symptoms of celiac disease can include gas, bloating, diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, weakness, and vomiting. Stools may be bulky, loose, and more frequent. The damage to the intestine also makes it hard for your body to absorb vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. This can lead to anemia or osteoporosis or both.

This information can help you learn more about how to eat so you can manage your symptoms, prevent long-term problems, and still get the nutrition you need.

  • Untreated celiac disease can make it hard for you to get the nutrients you need. Eating a variety of healthy foods that do not have gluten can help you keep your weight up and stay strong.
  • The main treatment for celiac disease is to avoid eating any foods that contain gluten. Even the smallest amount of gluten is harmful and can cause symptoms in some people.
  • Even if you don't have symptoms, you still need to avoid gluten totally to prevent damage to the intestines and long-term problems.
  • Some people with celiac disease need to avoid cow's milk and milk products when they first begin treatment. Most people can slowly add dairy foods back into their diet as the intestine heals. But they will still need to avoid foods with gluten for the rest of their lives.

If you have questions about following a gluten-free eating plan for celiac disease, talk to your doctor or dietitian.

how.gif  How to eat when you have celiac disease

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By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Jerry S. Trier, MD - Gastroenterology
Current as of May 29, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 29, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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