Celiac Disease: Starting with a gluten free diet

Celiac disease

Starting with a gluten free diet

Starting with a gluten free diet can be very overwhelming and it often takes a real search to find the right information. Building a whole new lifestyle without gluten is really challenging. The most important information about the basics of the diet can be found here on this page, covering everything from the diet criteria to important tips and advice.


Celiac disease is sometimes confused with gluten sensitivity, the immune system is not involved here and the complaints are usually less serious, sensitivity is also established when the diagnosis of celiac disease cannot be demonstrated.
Also a wheat allergy is not the same as celiac disease because an allergic reaction arises to certain proteins that are present in wheat or in grains that are related to it.
Unlike people with celiac disease, gluten-containing grains are still tolerated with a wheat allergy.

Celiac disease is diagnosed by taking a blood sample and looking for antibodies to tissue transglutaminase (IgA tTGA) and endomysium (IgA EMA) present in the blood.
However, the test can also be negative but celiac disease is still present.
To ensure this, a gastroscopy is performed in which small intestine biopsies are taken and examined.
Celiac disease has associated autoimmune disorders such as type 1 diabetes and thyroid disease.

Celiac Disease -

A gluten intolerance caused by the autoimmune system that sees gluten as invaders for the body and produces antibodies to fight it as a so-called disease. When eating gluten, this immune system response is activated. Gluten irritates the stomach lining and especially the small intestine which is damaged when gluten enters the body.

Celiac disease can be diagnosed in 4 marches (stages).
In March 1 there is no damage to the intestinal mucosa, but an immune response / inflammation can be seen that can still be repaired.
Marche 2 means that there is no damage to the intestinal mucosa, but an increased production of new intestinal villi, with a clear observation of immune response / inflammation.
In March 3 there is partial intestinal villi atrophy (destruction of the intestinal villi), but separate intestinal villi can still be observed as well as the production of new intestinal villi, with a clear immune response / inflammation. The severity of celiac disease therefore depends on how badly the intestinal villi are damaged in the small intestine, the worst form of Celiac disease is marche 4 and is called “irreversible” celiac disease, which means that the damage in the small intestine is too great to ever to be able to recover. It often happens that a lactose intolerance is diagnosed temporarily or not, this also applies to osteoporosis. When diagnosed with celiac disease, it is imperative to follow a gluten-free diet for life.

The symptoms of celiac disease are atypical and sometimes difficult to link to the autoimmune disease.

The main symptoms are:

  • Abdominal pain and / or swollen stomach after eating

  • Feeling of discomfort after eating gluten-containing foods, nausea and / or vomiting fatigue that may be accompanied by a general feeling of weakness

  • Loss of weight that can lead to malnutrition, including loss of vitamins and minerals in the blood and anemia

  • Abnormal stool structure such as diarrhea, constipation or signs of incontinence

  • With chronic diarrhea, the diagnosis of celiac disease can be missed and a misdiagnosis of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is made

  • Depression can develop and changes in hormone levels such as a lack of menstruation and even a miscarriage

  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)

Gluten -

Is a protein that occurs in different types of cereals and is divided into two groups of proteins, the glutenins and the gliadins. Gliadin and related prolamines can cause inflammatory reactions and defense mechanisms and are not tolerated in people with celiac disease.

The diet

It is important that newly diagnosed patients are well informed about the diet with the accompanying tips and that they follow them closely. “May contain traces” or “may contain traces” that manufacturers often print on their labels sometimes raise doubts as to whether or not it would be suitable within a gluten-free diet.
The best statement in this discussion is very simple: regret always comes too late.

While following the diet it can happen that gluten enters the body accidentally, this can cause a sudden violent reaction of the body with severe complaints.

This can happen through cross-contamination with food (shop or at home, in the restaurant, ...)
The reason for that can suddenly be very severe has to do with the immune system, seeing the immune system as a troop of soldiers who have been able to rest for some time and are equipped enough with a new intruder to be able to fully fight against it.
Always read the labels very carefully and buy gluten free products that can be recognized by their logo, also gluten can be hidden in products of which it is least expected (hidden gluten).

The gluten-free diet is a lifestyle adjustment that can be emotionally overwhelming, seek advice and talk to fellow sufferers.

The standard for a gluten-free product is lower than 20 mg gluten per kilo.

A content between 20-100 mg gluten per kilo is only allowed with diet products.

Gluten free products can be recognized by their internationally recognized quality mark for gluten-free food products.

Need more information?

Information brochures including the gluten free diet, prevention for cross-contamination , how to read labels with tips and more available.

Gluten free recipes