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Gluten-Free Diet in New Jersey

The Digestive Health & Nutrition Center has two convenient locations in Lawrenceville and Princeton New Jersey where you can receive the exceptional care you deserve. Angela Merlo, MD is an experienced Gastroenterologist specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of gluten allergies in adults and children.

What is a Gluten-Free Diet?

A gluten-free diet is a diet without gluten. Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and a cross between wheat and rye called triticale. A gluten-free diet is used to treat Celiac Disease but is also frequently adopted by people who test negative for Celiac Disease but have gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance.

Switching to a gluten-free diet is a big change and requires a plan. A productive approach is to focus on all the foods and drinks that do not contain gluten instead of being unhappy over not being able to eat those items that contain gluten. Many foods naturally have no gluten and many items are now available with gluten substitutes so there is no reason to think a gluten-free diet is too restrictive.

What Should I Avoid?

Avoid all foods and drinks containing

  • Barley (including malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar)
  • Rye
  • Triticale (a cross between rye and wheat)
  • Wheat (including durum flour, farina, graham flour, semolina, and spelt)

In general, avoid eating all prepared foods and drinks unless labeled “gluten-free” or contain only gluten-free grains such as corn or rice. Oats are usually acceptable unless contaminated with wheat during growing or processing. The Food and drug Administration requires less than 20 parts per million of gluten for a product to be labeled gluten-free.

What Can I Eat?

Many foods are naturally gluten-free:

  • Beans (legumes)
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Fruits
  • Leaf vegetables such as lettuce
  • Meats (beef and pork)
  • Nuts
  • Potatoes
  • Poultry
  • Vegetables
  • Wine and distilled alcohol drinks (rum, vodka, tequila and whiskey)

Many grains and starches can be part of a gluten-free diet unless there is a coincidental sensitivity:

  • Amaranth
  • Arrowroot
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn and cornmeal
  • Flax
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Sorghum
  • Soy
  • Tapioca
  • Teff
  • Yucca

What is Cross Contamination?

Cross contamination occurs when gluten-free foods come into contact with gluten. Cross contamination can happen during processing, cooking or at even at home when plates, utensils or equipment such as toasters are used for both gluten-free and gluten containing items without proper cleaning between uses.

Small amounts of cross contamination are usually tolerated except in cases with severe gluten allergy but should be kept at a minimum to insure proper control of the underlying disease.

If you suspect Celiac Disease and want to confirm the diagnosis before instituting a gluten-free diet, or have been diagnosed and want help with dietary management, contact the Digestive Health & Nutrition Center in Lawrenceville or Princeton New Jersey for an appointment. Dr. Merlo is expert at the diagnosis and treatment of Celiac Disease in adults and children.