Gluten Free Diet for Stomach Bloating

Bowl of mashed potatoes with vegetables in back.Gluten does not cause stomach bloating in most people. If you develop stomach bloating after eating gluten, the bloating is a sign of an underlying condition, such as gluten intolerance or an allergy to gluten. Stop eating gluten to determine if gluten is the cause of the bloating. Your doctor might recommend a gluten-free diet if your stomach bloating is related to an intolerance or allergy. Do not attempt to change your diet without the supervision of a medical doctor.

Conditions

The two conditions related to gluten are gluten intolerance and gluten allergy. Gluten is one of five proteins found in wheat, barley and rye. Gluten intolerance is the digestive system's inability to digest the gluten, which results in bloating, gas, diarrhea, nausea, cramping and stomach pain. A gluten allergy is not caused by the digestive system but rather is a hypersensitivity of the immune system. A gluten allergy will not cause stomach bloating, but will cause other symptoms to develop, such as asthma, hives and sinus congestion.

Foods to Avoid

Gluten is found in a wide variety of foods, and some medications contain gluten. When you’re on a gluten-free diet, you need to avoid the following ingredients: high-gluten flour, starch, wheat malt, semolina, durum, high-protein flour, bran, farina, bulgur, graham flour and wheat flour. Foods that commonly contain gluten include pasta, spelt, bread, cakes, cookies, breadcrumbs, crackers, cereals, couscous and cracker meal. Some processed food might contain gluten, such as ketchup and ice cream. Read the ingredients before eating any packaged food.

Foods to Eat

Foods that are naturally gluten-free include fruits, vegetables, chicken, fresh meats, fish, rice and soy. Eat baked goods and breads that are made with flours that are gluten-free, such as rice flour, soy flour, tapioca flour, corn flour and oat flour. Only purchase package foods that are labeled “gluten-free.” These foods not only are made without gluten flours but also are not processed on equipment that is shared with gluten products. Foods that are considered gluten-free include nuts, yucca, buckwheat, arrowroot, flax, millet, quinoa and potatoes.

Considerations

Although you might be attempting to avoid gluten, eating even a small amount can cause serious complications if you’re gluten intolerant or have an allergy to gluten. Eating a tiny amount of gluten if you’re intolerant can cause permanent damage to your intestines. A gluten allergy can lead to anaphylactic shock, a severe and deadly allergic condition.

Dairy

A few dairy products are lactose free. These products include soy-based canned nutrition drinks such as Ensure, lactose-free milk, non-dairy creamers, rice milk and soy milk.

Bread and Starches

Breads that are made without milk are safe from lactose, such as Italian and French breads. Other lactose-free starches include cereal made without milk, pasta, potatoes, rice barley, cooked grains, rice cakes, Saltines and whole-grain crackers.

Fats

Sources of fat that do not contain lactose include margarine that is made without butter or milk, non-dairy creamers, oils, shortening and some salad dressings.

Fruits and Vegetables

All fresh fruits and vegetables are lactose free, including fruit and vegetable juices. Any cooked or baked fruits and vegetables that are made without milk products are lactose free as well.

Meat and Substitutes

All freshly-cooked, plain meats, fish and poultry are lactose free (meaning no dairy ingredients have been added). Meat substitutes that do not contain lactose include cooked dried beans or peas, peanut butter and other nut butters, peanuts, seeds, soy cheeses, soybean products and tofu products.

Soups, Sauces and Seasonings

Most soups and sauces are made with some form of dairy. Plain herbs and spices are safe choices. Other lactose-free ingredients include vegetable or meat soups that do not contain milk, gravies that are made with water, broth, bouillon and consommé.

Desserts

There are many sweets and dessert options that do not contain lactose. Angel food cake, frozen pureed fruit bars, fruit ices, sorbets, gelatin desserts without added milk or whipped cream products, honey, sugar, syrup, molasses and powdered sweeteners. Jellies, jams and preserves are safe to eat. There are pies, cakes or other baked goods that are made without milk as well.

Other Ingredients

Other food ingredients that are lactose free include calcium propionate, calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, calcium phosphate, cocoa butter, cocoa powder, coconut butter, coconut cream, cream of tartar, creamed honey, fruit butter, glucono delta-lactone, lecithin oleoresin, malted barley, grain-based malts, malt liquor, malt vinegar, milk thistle and shea butter.

Gluten-Free Diet for Ulcerative Colitis

By Adam Cloe ; Updated August 14, 2017
Gluten is a compound in many foods and has been linked to certain digestive problems, such as celiac disease. Although gluten has not been implicated in ulcerative colitis, you may try to follow a gluten-free diet if you are concerned that food is making your symptoms worse, particularly because the symptoms of gluten intolerance are similar to those of ulcerative colitis.

About Gluten

Gluten is the name for a group of proteins and peptides, include gliadin, that are found in many grains. Grains that contain gluten include rye, wheat and barley. Celiac disease is a condition in which eating gluten causes inflammation of the small intestine. The intestinal inflammation results in severe pain, diarrhea and other problems of the digestive tract. Gluten intolerance is another condition for which you must follow a gluten-free diet.

Ulcerative Colitis

Similar to gluten intolerance, ulcerative colitis is another disorder that causes inflammation of the intestines. Ulcerative colitis typically only affects the large intestine, also known as the colon. Ulcerative colitis can also cause abdominal pain and diarrhea as a result of inflammation of the intestines. Patients with ulcerative colitis may also develop rectal bleeding, constipation and unintended weight loss. Ulcerative colitis is a serious medical condition that can cause debilitating symptoms. Because this condition is caused by the immune system attacking the lining of the large intestine, it can be difficult to treat.

Ulcerative Colitis and Diet

There is no conclusive evidence that ulcerative colitis is caused by diet, but some foods may exacerbate your symptoms. Typically gluten is not considered a food that will trigger ulcerative colitis; instead, dairy products, beans, broccoli, popcorn, alcohol, caffeine, raw fruits and vegetables and carbonated beverages are associated with triggering flare-ups of ulcerative colitis. However, if you notice that your symptoms are worse after consuming gluten, you should avoid all foods made with barley, rye or wheat.

Considerations

The symptoms of ulcerative colitis and gluten intolerance are similar, and it is possible to have both conditions simultaneously, in which case a gluten-free diet is essential. However, the two conditions affect different parts of the intestines and are caused by different kinds of immunological problems. As a result, if you have ulcerative colitis, it is unlikely that following a gluten-free diet will relieve your symptoms. Talk to your doctor before making significant changes to your diet.