Gluten-Free Diet: How to Eat Wheat-Free

Written By: Gloria Tsang, RD

Title: Founding Registered Dietitian

Alumni: University of British Columbia

Last Updated on:

Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, wheat products, and some other grains. A gluten-free diet is recommended for people with celiac disease. It may also be recommended for people with wheat allergy, autism, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Don’t be misled by products that claim to be wheat-free! Grains like kamut and triticale are still part of the wheat family and contain gluten. To be certain, look for the claim “Gluten-Free” or certified gluten-free logos.

Grains to Avoid on a Gluten-Free Diet

  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Commercial Oats*
  • Malt
  • Couscous
  • Durum
  • Spelt
  • Kamut
  • Bulgar
  • Farina
  • Semolina
  • Einkorn
  • Farro

Grains Allowed on a Gluten-Free Diet

  • Rice
  • Potato
  • Corn
  • Pure, uncontaminated oats*
  • Quinoa
  • Tapioca
  • Buckwheat
  • Yam
  • Teff
  • Amaranth
  • Arrowroot flour
  • Gelatin
  • Xanthan gum
  • Guar gum
  • Sorghum

* According to the Canadian Celiac Association, clinical evidence confirms that eating pure, uncontaminated oats is safe in the amount of 50 to 70 grams per day by adults and 20 to 25 grams per day by children with celiac disease. However, some people may not tolerate even the purest uncontaminated oats. So speak to your doctor before introducing oats to a gluten-free diet.

Sweat-Free Baking with Special Flour Blend

Since no single flour can replace wheat flour, baking is the biggest challenge in a gluten-free kitchen. Carol Fenster, PhD, author of Gluten-Free Quick & Easy, suggested mixing 1.5 cups sorghum flour, 1.5 cups potato starch, and 1 cup tapioca flour together to use as a replacement for wheat flour when baking.

The Bottom Line

ALWAYS check food labels and look for the “Gluten-Free” claim or logo. Gluten isn’t always found where you expect it to be. For instance, some chocolate or sweetened milk may contain malt or wheat starch. Processed meat like luncheon meat and frozen meat patties may contain fillers made from wheat. For a complete list of foods to avoid and gluten-free food products, refer to Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide written by Shelley Case, RD. This book is a must-have!


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