The gluten-free diet is used as a treatment for people with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or wheat allergy. Before starting on the gluten-free diet, talk with your doctor to be sure all testing for celiac disease and wheat allergy has been completed. Starting the gluten-free diet before celiac testing is done can interfere with test results. There is currently no evidence-based diagnostic test for gluten sensitivity.

Who Should Follow a Gluten-Free Diet?

The gluten-free diet is used as a treatment for:

  • Celiac disease
  • Non-celiac gluten sensitivity
  • Wheat allergy

It is NOT recommended as a weight loss diet or as a healthier diet than one containing gluten. People who can tolerate gluten are not advised to follow a gluten-free diet.

How Do I Read a Food Label?

To avoid gluten in the diet, read all food labels carefully to avoid products containing wheat, rye or barley. If the product label says “gluten-free,” you can feel comfortable purchasing the item. If it is NOT labeled “gluten-free,” read the ingredient list for these 6 words:

  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Malt
  • Oat*
  • Brewer’s yeast

*Most people with celiac disease can tolerate gluten-free oats. However, talk to your doctor before adding them to your diet. If the product is NOT labeled gluten-free, the oats can be contaminated with wheat or barley.

How Do I Keep Gluten-Free Foods Safe to Eat?

Once you have shopped for gluten-free foods, make sure they do not come in contact with foods containing gluten.

  • Use a separate toaster for gluten-free products.
  • Use squeeze containers of jelly, mayonnaise and mustard to avoid gluten-containing crumbs from contaminating the condiment.
  • Clean all surfaces well before making a gluten-free meal. It is a good idea to make the gluten-free item first and the gluten-containing item second.
  • Store gluten-free flours, baking mixes, breads and other products separately from foods containing gluten.

How Can I Learn More?

  • For more information on the gluten-free diet, please visit our website
  • To make an appointment or to learn more about our team of experts at the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment, please call 617-724-8476.


Rev: 03/2021
This webpage is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used as treatment of any medical conditions.