March is National Nutrition Month, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating. It is also the time of year when the Academy celebrates expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists as the food and nutrition experts.
People with celiac disease cannot eat foods containing gluten, a protein found in certain grains. The only treatment for celiac disease is to eat a gluten-free diet.
If you have celiac disease, avoid these grains:
- All varieties including einkorn, emmer, spelt and kamut
- All forms including wheat starch, wheat bran, wheat germ, cracked wheat and hydrolyzed wheat protein
- All flours that contain wheat including plain flour, white flour, bromated flour, enriched flour, phosphated flour, self-rising flour, durum flour, farina, semolina and graham flour
- Cross-bred grain varieties, such as triticale (a cross between wheat and rye).
What about Oats?
Many people with celiac disease can tolerate small amounts of pure oats in their diet. However, gluten can get into oats used in commercial food during growing, harvesting and processing. The safest bet is to look for the “gluten-free” claim on foods that contain oats.
The above list is not complete. People with celiac disease should discuss gluten-free food choices with a registered dietitian or physician who specializes in celiac disease. People with celiac disease should always read food ingredient lists carefully to make sure that the food does not contain gluten.