Celiacs Avoid these Grains

Reviewed by Jill Kohn, MS, RDN, LDN
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People with celiac disease cannot eat foods containing gluten, a protein found in certain grains. Though celiac disease cannot be cured, the condition can be managed by eating the right foods. People with celiac disease can lead long, healthful lives.

If you have celiac disease, avoid these grains:

  • Wheat
  • All varieties including einkorn, emmer, spelt and kamut
  • All forms including wheat bran, wheat germ, cracked wheat and hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • All flours that contain wheat including plain all-purpose flour, white flour, bromated flour, enriched flour, phosphated flour, self-rising flour, durum flour, farina, semolina and graham flour
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Cross-bred grain varieties, such as triticale (a cross between wheat and rye).

What about Oats and Wheat Starch?

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.

Some foods that are labeled “gluten-free” may have wheat starch listed in the ingredients. In these cases, the wheat is processed to reduce the amount of gluten in the food to less than 20 parts per million (ppm). If the food is labeled as “gluten-free” it should state, "The wheat has been processed to allow this food to meet the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements for gluten-free foods."

The above list is not complete. People with celiac disease should discuss gluten-free food choices with a registered dietitian nutritionist 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. It's important to continue to review food labels and to check with food manufacturers, if necessary, because ingredients can change.

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