This is why eating gluten-free in a restaurant can be challenging

This is why eating gluten-free in a restaurant can be challenging

When you go to a restaurant and need to avoid gluten, it’s as simple as ordering the gluten-free option on the menu, right?

Not always.

Eating out can be tricky for people with celiac disease who need to avoid gluten to avoid serious health consequences.

It’s true: Restaurants often advertise dishes without gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.

The complication can come with cross-contamination, says Carrie Ek, a pediatric nutritionist and coordinator at the Pediatric Celiac Center at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill.

For example, a gluten-free food can pick up gluten when it’s is cooked in the same fryer previously used to cook an item that contains gluten. Or if water used to cook pasta is used to cook a gluten-free food, it also could become contaminated.

“It’s like a minefield for people,” Ek says.

But it’s not impossible.

Resources exist online where people can recommend good gluten-free restaurants. And Ek points to tips from the Beyond Celiac group that can help people who want to eat out. Among those tips:

  • Call ahead and look online before going to a restaurant.
  • When talking to a server, be detailed. Ask about all ingredients.
  • Double check once your meal comes, and compliment the staff if your meal is truly gluten-free.

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Comments

One Comment

  1. Mike, thank you great article! As an individual with Celiac diesese it is great to bring awareness to others and the daily challenges those like me face. I would love to see an article on GI issues and how to diagnose certain ones or something along those lines.

About the Author

Mike Riopell
Mike Riopell

Mike Riopell, health enews contributor, is a media relations coordinator with Advocate Aurora Health. He previously worked as a reporter and editor covering politics and government for the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald and Bloomington Pantagraph, among others. He enjoys bicycles, home repair, flannel shirts and being outside.