A strict, lifelong gluten free diet is the only recognised medical treatment for coeliac disease (pronounced SEE-lee-ak). This is because your sensitivity to gluten will never go away. The only way your small bowel can heal, and then stay healthy, is by removing all gluten from your diet, even if your symptoms are mild. Mild symptoms don’t mean you have a mild disease.
Gluten free diet
Maintaining a gluten free diet involves learning new skills including reading and interpreting food labels. Foods can be labeled gluten free in Australia if they don’t contain any detectable gluten, oats or malted ingredients.
Most packaged food in Australia must list ingredients from grains that contain gluten on their ingredient’s list. Alcoholic beverages are exempt from this labeling law. This means you will need to know which drinks are safe to consume and which are not. For example, all regular beers contain gluten. Your state coeliac association, or a dietitian, can help you understand which foods and drinks are gluten free.
You should also look for the crossed grain logo on packaged foods. This logo means the product has been reviewed and approved by Coeliac Australia and is suitable for a gluten free diet.
Where to find help
Contact your state coeliac organisation for advice and ongoing support by calling 1300 458 836.
Making an appointment with a dietitian who specialises in coeliac disease diet is also useful. They can:
- explain what a gluten free diet involves
- plan your gluten free diet with you
- make sure you will have a balanced diet
- determine if you need dietary supplements
- provide advice about how to read food labels
You can find an Accredited Practicing Dietitian through the Dietitians Association of Australia website.
Last reviewed: December 2017