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Gluten-free products and Celiac Disease

Updated on October 2, 2015


A complex protein in starchy grains. in particular Wheat,Rye and Barley. Gluten comprises 80% of the protein in wheat. Gluten produces elasticity in dough; allows leavening of bread and provides the chewy texture found in bread products such as bagels.

'Celiac Disease is an inherited autoimmune disease that effects more than 3 million Americans.'


The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center

Celiac Disease

Celiac (also spelled Coeliac) Disease is an inappropriate immune system response to gluten. It causes a reaction in the small intestine which flattens the lining of the intetstine leading to poorer nutrient absorbtion. This can produce a wide spectrum of symptoms, includlng, diarrheoa,fatigue and a failure to thrive in children.

The effect of celiac disease on the intestine

Contrast the healthy intestine with functional villi at the top with the diseased intestine below
Contrast the healthy intestine with functional villi at the top with the diseased intestine below

The symptoms assosiated with Celiac Disease where first noted in the 2nd Century AD by Aretaeus in 'On the Causes and Indications of Acute and Chronic Diseases'

Celiac Discease is not to be confused with wheat allergies,which can be caused by any of the proteins making up gluten as well as a variety of seeds and other plant tissues.

The Ancient Greeks first recognized the symptoms of Celiac Disease



Gluten is attached to the starch in cereals and so can be easily removed by dissolving these in water. The washed-out grain is not absolutely gluten-free but is allowed to be labelled so by the FDA.

The only way to arrest the onset of Coeliac Disease is to avoid completely these gluten-rich grains:

  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Farina
  • Graham flour
  • Semolina
  • Durham
  • Bulgur
  • Kamut
  • Kasha
  • Matzo meal
  • Spelt (a form of wheat)
  • Triticale

The following are frequently contaminated with gluten and should be eaten only if it can be verified that they where processed in a gluten-free facility. Contamination with wheat gluten is common with these grains.

  • Oats

  • Amaranth

  • Buckwheat

  • Quinoa



According to The University of Chicago's Celiac Disease Center, 'Celiac Disease presents with as many as 300 different symptoms, many of them subtle and seemingly unrelated. Yet, a significant percentage of people with Celiac Disease have no symptoms at all. People without symptoms are at the same risk for the complications associated with Celiac Disease. '.

Home test kit

Now there is a simple, accurate way to determine if someone is susceptible to celiac disease. A variety of home test kits are available. Health Canada has approved the BiocardTM Celiac Test Kit, an at-home test that measures gluten antibodies from a fingertip blood sample.

The test comes from 2G Pharma and was developed by two women who are best friends and worked for years in the corporate pharmaceutical world. Their closest friend was diagnosed with celiac disease after more than 10 years of severe suffering from celiac and almost bleeding to death from intestinal damage. The ladies used all of their skills to find and bring to market a test that would prevent anyone from suffering the same pain their friend had while trying to get a celiac diagnosis.The Biocard Celiac test has been approved in Europe since 2005. It is currently available from Canadian supplers for around $50 and is expected to get a licence from the FDA for the U.S. market in 2009.

The test is currently physician-administered in the U.S. and a positive result will lead to an upper bowel endoscopy to assess the damage. If Celiac Disease is caught in its early stages it can be completely reversed by strict adherence to the gluten free diet. The University of Chicago has public screening as well as a wealth of free information and advice. The link at the top of this page will take you to the Celiac Disease Center's website.

Safe Alternatives

Examples of safe alternatives include:

  • Acorn
  • Almond
  • Amaranth
  • Arborio rice
  • Aromatic rice
  • Arrowroot
  • Basmati rice
  • Brown rice, Brown rice flour
  • Buckwheat
  • Calrose
  • Canola
  • Cassava
  • Channa
  • Chestnut
  • Chickpea
  • Corn, corn flour, corn gluten, corn malt,
  • cornmeal, cornstarch
  • Cottonseed
  • Dal
  • Dasheen flour
  • Enriched rice
  • Fava bean
  • Flax, flax seeds
  • Garbanzo
  • Glutinous rice
  • Hominy
  • Instant rice
  • Job's tears
  • Millet
  • Modified corn starch
  • Modified tapioca starch
  • MontinaTM
  • Peanut flour
  • Potato flour, potato starch
  • Quinoa
  • Red rice
  • Rice, rice bran, rice flour
  • Risotto
  • Sago
  • Sesame
  • Sorghum
  • Soy, soybean, tofu (soya)
  • Starch (made from safe grains)
  • Sunflower Seed
  • Sweet rice flour
  • Tapioca
  • Taro flour
  • Teff
  • Wild rice


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    • organized living profile image

      Adrian Walker 4 years ago from Magnolia, AR

      Thanks everyone for your kind comments on this article. I apologize for not responding sooner. I'm so glad it found an audience. the center in Chicago is doing great work and anyone who is in need of professional help should contact them. I'm sure they have a list of specialists in most areas of the country.

    • Butterfly Lady profile image

      Butterfly Lady 7 years ago from Broken Arrow, OK

      Great hub. This information will come in handy when I talk to my daughter and her children. The home test will be very convencing. Your article is greatly appreciated.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      Very good article. My brother has this disease and he has had to get used to the new diet which he isn't thrilled about but he is doing better.

    • chrissyks profile image

      chrissyks 8 years ago from Central Indiana

      What an incredible hub! I loved the pictures of comparing the intestine - very interesting. I didn't know about the home test. Thank you for the link. I suspect I have it, but it would be good to confirm it.

      I wrote a gluten-free hub as well about great gluten-free essentials to keep in your pantry or freezer.

    • RockBlossom profile image

      RockBlossom 8 years ago from The Arkansas Ozarks

      Excellent information!

    • Jesus_saves_us_7 profile image

      Jesus_saves_us_7 8 years ago from Seeking Salvation

      Very thorough hub!! Great jub!!

      Glute free is the way to be! :)