To follow a gluten-free diet, you must avoid wheat and some other grains while choosing substitutes that provide nutrients for a healthy diet.
A gluten-free diet is an eating plan that excludes foods containing gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye).
A gluten-free diet is essential for managing signs and symptoms of celiac disease and other medical conditions associated with gluten.
Celiac disease is a condition in which gluten triggers immune system activity that damages the lining of the small intestine. Over time this damage prevents the absorption of nutrients from food.
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity causes some signs and symptoms associated with celiac disease — including abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, "foggy brain," rash or headache
- Gluten ataxia, an autoimmune disorder, affects certain nerve tissues and causes problems with muscle control and voluntary muscle movement.
- Wheat allergy, like other food allergies, is the result of the immune system mistaking gluten or some other protein found in wheat as a disease-causing agent, such as a virus or bacterium.
Following a gluten-free diet requires paying careful attention to food selections, the ingredients found in foods, and their nutritional content.
Allowed fresh foods
Many naturally gluten-free foods can be a part of a healthy diet:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Beans, seeds, legumes and nuts in their natural, unprocessed forms
- Lean, nonprocessed meats, fish and poultry
- Most low-fat dairy products