What is a Gluten-Free Diet?

Gluten free legumes

A gluten-free diet is a diet that is completely free from gluten, a protein which is found in wheat, barley, and rye. Oats without a gluten-free label are not considered safe for those who have celiac disease. Specialty gluten-free oats are grown, harvested and processed in a way that keeps them away from other grains and the high risk of gluten contamination and are widely accepted as safe for those with celiac disease. Gluten is what makes bread dough stretchy and gives baked bread its chewy texture.

Many foods are naturally gluten free. This includes meat, poultry, fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts, milk, and many others. Healthy fats like those from avocados and olive oil, and gluten-free whole grains are the foundation for nutritious meals for your whole family, not just for your child with celiac disease.

You can find whole-grain, gluten-free products made from quinoa, brown rice, millet, and many more. These are all nutritious grains that have more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than their refined counterparts.

Hundreds of gluten-free foods that your child already enjoys will continue to be part of their diet: hummus; gluten-free ice cream; milk; peanut butter; gluten-free puddings; quesadillas made with corn tortillas. Also, today’s supermarket shelves and online grocery stores are filled with GF-labeled, and tasty gluten-free products. Help your child focus on the foods they can have, rather than what they need to avoid.

Once you’ve mastered the gluten-free diet, it’s time to go shopping! Fortunately, you have the Celiac Traffic Light Guide to help guide you in selecting foods that are gluten free. With time, you’ll naturally learn to categorize foods in your mind to make shopping an easier and enjoyable experience!

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Gluten-Free Eating for Halloween and the Holidays with Dr. Nasim Khavari

What does gluten-free and certified gluten-free mean?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows foods that contain fewer than 20 parts per million (PPM) of gluten (equivalent to 1/64 of a teaspoon) to be labeled gluten free. The FDA doesn't require outside testing of any product that meets this FDA criterion.

For a food product to be certified as gluten free, the gluten content must fall below the 20 parts per million, or 20 PPM, standard, and a third-party organization is required to inspect the manufacturer’s facility and test the products.