NYU Langone dietitians can provide a comprehensive list of foods and products that are safe for people with celiac disease, as well as those that should be avoided. People with celiac disease should avoid all foods containing wheat, barley, and rye, as well as those with other grain-based ingredients, such as bulgur, farina, and semolina flour.
Many processed or packaged foods and beverages also contain gluten, such as beer, pasta, pies, cookies, candies, cakes, cereals, crackers, and salad dressings. A dietitian can explain what ingredients to watch for on food and product labels to avoid accidentally eating gluten.
An important concern when adhering to a strict gluten-free diet is cross-contamination. This can occur when a gluten-free food is manufactured on a machine used for products containing gluten. Some labels warn of this possibility, but not all do. In these situations, it may be best to avoid the food or contact the manufacturer for clarification.
Cross-contamination can also occur at home, especially if there are several people living there. Replacing toasters, cutting boards made of porous materials, and wooden kitchen tools can help prevent inadvertent gluten exposure. Our dietitians and gastroenterologists can help people adjust to these new dietary changes.
Fortunately, many foods are naturally gluten free. These include unprocessed meat, fish, poultry, eggs, beans, seeds, raw nuts, fruits, vegetables, and most dairy products. Our gastroenterologists and dietitians can offer advice on how to shop for these foods to ensure they’re not mixed with grains or other products that contain gluten.
Gluten is present not only in foods but also in commonly used products such as cosmetics—including lipstick and lip balm—as well as toothpaste, deodorant, and medications. Some mouthwashes and toothpastes also contain gluten. In general, if a product meets the gluten-free guidelines, it will be indicated on the label. However, if a product does contain gluten, it may not be so easy to determine, as many ingredients containing gluten have unfamiliar names. Our experts can help you identify which products are safe.