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Gluten is another word for the proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley. Individuals with celiac disease must follow a gluten-free diet.

These gluten-free diet basics are important to know and follow.

Wheat, Rye, or Barley

Avoid wheat, rye, and barley. They all contain gluten.


Oats often are cross-contaminated with gluten-containing grains. Pure, uncontaminated oats, tested and labeled as gluten free, are now available and are considered safe to consume in moderation.

Wheat and wheat-containing grains

Other names for wheat or wheat-containing grains that contain gluten are:

  • Spelt
  • Kamut®
  • Einkorn
  • Emmer
  • Triticale
  • Durum
  • Farina
  • Enriched flour
  • Wheat starch
  • Wheat germ
  • Self-rising flour
  • Graham flour
  • Bulgur
  • Semolina
  • Cake flour
  • Pastry flour
  • Matzo

Wheat free does not mean gluten free. Wheat-free foods still may contain rye or barley.


Malt and malt flavorings are made from barley. They are not gluten free.

Grains and flours that are safe

The following grains and flours are safe for individuals on a gluten-free diet:

  • Rice
  • Corn
  • Quinoa
  • Amaranth
  • Arrowroot
  • Buckwheat
  • Montina™
  • Flax
  • Potato
  • Sago
  • Soy
  • Sorghum
  • Tapioca
  • Teff
  • Cornstarch
  • Any flour made from nuts, beans, tubers, or legumes

Cross contamination

Follow this advice to prevent gluten-free foods from coming in contact with foods containing gluten:

  • Store gluten-free foods separately from foods containing gluten
  • Designate certain appliances, such as a toaster, for use with gluten-free products only
  • Use clean tools for cooking, cutting, mixing, and serving gluten-free foods
    • Have separate containers of butter, peanut butter, and condiments, or institute a no-double-dipping rule
    • Do not purchase flour or cereal from open bins

Foods to choose

Stick to plain, simple foods, which are mostly found in the outer aisle of the grocery store, including:

  • All plain meats, poultry, fish, or eggs
  • Legumes and nuts in all forms
  • Corn and rice in all forms
  • Dairy products, including milk, butter, margarine, real cheese, and plain yogurt
  • All plain fruits or vegetables (fresh, frozen, or canned)
  • Vegetable oils, including canola
  • All vinegar, except malt vinegar
  • Any food that says it is gluten free

References and recommended readings

Mahan LK, Escott-Stump S. Krause’s Food and Nutrition Therapy. 12th ed. St. Louis, MO: Saunders/Elsevier; 2008.

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). Celiac disease. Available at: Accessed January 10, 2011.


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8631 W. 3rd Street, Suite 815E
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone: 310-858-2224
Fax: 310-858-2225

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