What’s a Gluten Free Diet?

What’s a gluten free diet?  It refers to a diet without gluten and is mainly used in the treatment of celiac disease. The reason being, that gluten causes the small intestine to become inflamed, therefore it needs to be eliminated from the diet.

A stringent gluten-free diet is the only medical treatment for coeliac disease. Taking gluten from your diet enables symptoms to improve while your gut heals.

What’s a Gluten Free Diet?What's a gluten free diet

First, we need to know :

What is Gluten?  Gluten is a protein found in:-

  • Wheat (including spelt)
  • Rye
  • Oats (Note: Oats are naturally free from gluten but are ofttimes contaminated with wheat in growing, storing or processing, so buy oats that are labeled gluten-free.)
  • Barley

What’s a Gluten Free Diet food list?

For those on a gluten-free diet, there are four groups of food that are suitable:

  • Foods that are already free from gluten naturally
    e.g. Fresh vegetables and fruit, eggs, milk, fresh meats, nuts and legumes, oils, fats, gluten-free grains, such as corn and rice.
  • Many people who are just starting to delve into the gluten-free diet are not expecting to find that many satisfying seeds and grains are actually gluten-free, including-Amaranth, Arrowroot, Buckwheat, Chia, Corn (Note: All types of corn are gluten-free, including polenta, maize, hominy, cornmeal, cornstarch, and grits.)  Also, flours made from, e.g. beans and nuts.
  • Seeds and nuts, also, are gluten-free and tasty. It’s easy to increase fiber in your diet by adding psyllium husks and/or chia seeds to natural yogurt or skinny smoothies.
  • Products labeled ‘gluten free’.  These products contain no detectable gluten.

Gluten-free is becoming an expanding business. A growing amount of food manufacturers has started producing more gluten-free products. A recent report from ‘Packaged Facts’ indicated that the market from last year’s $4.2 billion, will increase to $6.6 billion dollars in 2017.

Choosing Gluten Free diet foods

When it comes to following a gluten-free diet, it is necessary to become ingredient aware and an expert at reading labels.

So, it’s important to check the product ingredients whenever you shop. By becoming aware of ingredients you’re What's celiac diseaseable to take control of your diet and expand the choice of products you can consume.

Most Coeliac organizations run workshops on reading food labels and supermarket tours for members to aid in the understanding of how to choose gluten free foods.

It is recommended to seek the guidance of an Accredited Practicing Dietitian who can advise on suitable individual needs, especially for those with other dietary requirements or medical conditions.

Gluten-free diets are generally for people who are biologically unable to tolerate gluten. However, some people choose to go gluten-free diet for a healthier way of eating.

It is important to remember that whilst it is not harmful to be gluten free, one must have a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits and legumes. Also, be sure your gluten-free foods are one hundred percent whole grain, such as brown rice, buckwheat, and quinoa.

Ideas For Going on a Gluten Free Diet

  • Plan your diet with help from a well trained professional who can advise you on foods that are gluten-free as well as nutritionally dense for optimum health
  • make sure not to cross contaminate, when preparing, with foods that contain gluten. For example, use a different knife when buttering bread that contains gluten
  • instead of using wheat flour, use rice, potato, bean or soy flour. There are, as well, quite a few gluten-free types of pasta and bread in shops these days.  For more information click here for online sources for gluten-free foods.  And fish, meat, fruits, vegetables and rice are free from gluten.

Feeling Better

The time schedule for feeling better when starting a gluten-free diet differs in people. It may take a few days for some people and at the same time for others the symptoms will start to improve in a few weeks.  The symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea and bloating may take a few weeks to clear up.

Regarding symptoms, it may take more time for certain ones to improve.  For instance, the damage to the gut could take five months to a few years to heal completely.

If You Slip Up

There is a learning curve when deciding to go on a gluten-free diet, not only for yourself but also your friends and family.  It’s normal to make mistakes especially when you first start.  So don’t be hard on yourself.

That being said, if you accidentally eat food that contains gluten, generally the symptoms would start in two or three hours after eating and may linger from hours to a few days.

The effects are different between individuals, depending on the quantity of gluten eaten, the amount of time you’ve been on the diet and your sensitivity to gluten.

Occasionally making a mistake is not likely to result in lasting damage to your gut.

You Have Symptoms – Now What?

If you are vomiting or have diarrhea, it’s essential to drink a lot of water to keep yourself well hydrated.

Whilst people sometimes feel that treating symptoms such as headaches, diarrhea or constipation with medication is useful, be sure to check with your GP or pharmacist beforehand.

The best thing to do is to resume your gluten-free diet to try to avoid further symptoms.

Regarding your symptoms, if they show no signs of improvement or are severe, consult your GP.


  1. Gluten-free diet [online].  Available from: URL link
  2. Gluten-free diet guidleines [online].  Available from: URL link