Other Facts about Gluten Free

Watch for cross-contamination

Cross-contamination occurs when gluten-free foods come into contact with foods that contain gluten. It can happen during the manufacturing process, for example, if the same equipment is used to make a variety of products. Some food labels include a “may contain” statement if this is the case. But be aware that this type of statement is voluntary. You still need to check the actual ingredient list. If you’re not sure whether a food contains gluten, don’t buy it or check with the manufacturer first to ask what it contains.

Cross-contamination can also occur at home if foods are prepared on common surfaces or with utensils that weren’t thoroughly cleaned after being used to prepare gluten-containing foods. Using a common toaster for gluten-free bread and regular bread is a major source of contamination, for example. Consider what steps you need to take to prevent cross-contamination at home, school or work.
Results

People with celiac disease who eat a gluten-free diet experience fewer symptoms and complications of the disease. People with celiac disease must eat a strictly gluten-free diet and must remain on the diet for the remainder of their lives.

In some severe cases, a gluten-free diet alone can’t stop the symptoms and complications of celiac disease. In these cases, doctors might prescribe medications to suppress the immune system.

Risks

Not getting enough vitamins

People who follow a gluten-free diet may have low levels of certain vitamins and nutrients in their diets. Many grains are enriched with vitamins. Avoiding grains with a gluten-free diet may mean eating fewer of these enriched products. Ask your dietitian to review your diet to see that you’re getting enough of these key nutrients:

  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Fiber
  • Thiamin
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Folate

Not sticking to the gluten-free diet

If you accidentally eat a product that contains gluten, you may experience abdominal pain and diarrhea. Some people experience no signs or symptoms after eating gluten, but this doesn’t mean it’s not damaging their small intestines. Even trace amounts of gluten in your diet may be damaging, whether or not they cause signs or symptoms.