The celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that affects genetically predisposed people after they ingest gluten. Those who suffer from it have to follow a gluten-free diet. In fact, even tiny traces of this protein may damage the intestinal tract of these patients.
As Doctor Paoletta Preatoni, gastroenterologist and digestive endoscopy specialist at Humanitas, explains, “Gluten is a protein complex that is present in cereals such as wheat, barley and rye. People who suffer from celiac disease can’t eat solid products based on these cereals, and also beverages that contain them (for instance, beer or cereal-based milks and yogurts)”.
Nowadays, it is possible to buy products labeled as “gluten-free”. You should also pay attention to the presence of gluten in apparently safe foods. You have to read the labels carefully and ascertain whether you can eat a certain product or not.
Gluten is often present as an excipient or a thickener in many processed foods such as sauces, beverages, sausages, stock cubes. In addition to this, it may be in medications and herbal preparations.
There are no problems with alcoholic beverages such as wine, schnapps and spirits. However, beers have to be gluten-free in order for people with celiac disease to drink them.
These patients may drink tea, coffee, chamomile, infusions and herbal teas, provided they check thoroughly the list of ingredients. However, soluble beverages may contain traces of gluten, and barley, and oat-based beverages should be avoided altogether.
Also, cakes, some ice-creams, sweets, energy bars, and cereal chocolate may contain gluten.
The Celiac Disease Italian Association handbook
Products in markets that respect the current guidelines should have a detailed list of ingredients, and possible contamination has to be reported. When in doubt, do not buy the product or ask your doctor for advice”, Doctor Preatoni suggests.
The Celiac Disease Italian Association created a detailed handbook in order to help patients know what they can or can’t eat safely. They should always read the labels, keeping in mind that the “gluten-free” label guarantees a safe consumption.
Foods to avoid
Gluten is present in cereals such as wheat, hulled wheat, barley, oat, rye, monococo, Khorasan grain, spelt, triticale, flour, amid, maize meal, cream of wheat, oatmeal, wheat germ, bulgur, couscous (from gluten-rich cereals), frik, greis, greunkern, seitan, tabulè, bran, malt and grit from gluten-rich cereals.
You should also pay attention to meats and fishes (if they are breaded, dusted, mixed with breadcrumbs or cooked with sauces thickened with forbidden flours) and to cheese-based meals with forbidden flours.
You should avoid stews and soups with forbidden cereals, sourdough, culture yeast, dusted dried fruit, seitan and béchamel containing forbidden flours.