Gluten Intolerance, Celiac Disease

Do you suffer indigestion after eating cereal products such as bread or pasta? Then gluten intolerance can be the cause!

What is gluten intolerance, celiac disease or sprue?

Gluten intolerance, also called celiac disease or sprue, is a chronic disease of the small intestine. The intestinal villi of the small intestine are attacked and destroyed by the ingestion of gluten of various cereals. Grains containing gluten include wheat, barley, rye, spelt, and oats.

Clinical overview

Classic symptoms of celiac disease include indigestion with weight loss, loss of appetite, vomiting, pallor and diarrhea. However, normal bowel movements or even constipation can also occur with celiac disease. Due to the inflammation of the mucous membrane of the small intestine, the absorption of vital nutrients in the intestinal villi is impaired, especially the absorption of fat, protein, folic acid, vitamins C, K and D, iron, calcium and copper.


If celiac disease is suspected, blood is taken from the patient and tested for antibodies. If the test is positive, the diagnosis is further confirmed by a biopsy of the small intestine. If the diagnosis is positive, patients must eat gluten-free food for the rest of their lives.


The only way to treat the disease is to maintain a lifelong gluten-free diet. This rebuilds the intestine and prevents long-term consequences. The first improvement usually occurs after a few days of gluten-free food.

Gluten-containing cereals and products made from them should be strictly avoided. In industrially manufactured products, gluten-containing additives are used, for example, as emulsifiers, stabilizers, gelling agents and as carriers for certain flavorings. Since November 2005, foods containing gluten have had to be labelled as such. If it is not clear from the list of ingredients that cereals containing gluten are used, the manufacturer must label the additive with the addition "contains gluten."

Detailed lists of gluten-free products can be obtained from celiac groups and on request from food manufacturers.

Gluten-containing foods are:

  • wheat, rye, oats, barley, spelt, green spelt, einkorn, emmer and kamut
  • all products made from it such as semolina, barley, flour, starch, flakes (muesli), breadcrumbs and pasta

Gluten may be contained in:

  • Bread, rolls, gnocchi, noodles, dumplings, packaged soups and powdered sauces
  • Breaded meat or fish
  • Liver sausage and sausage products containing flour in addition to meat (ask the butcher)
  • Prepared dishes and industrially produced products with starch sauces, potato products, deep-frozen products, soups and desserts
  • Cakes, cookies, yeast based deserts and puff pastries
  • Biscuits, cereal bars, ice cream cones
  • Salt sticks, chips and snacks
  • Beer, malt beer and coffee substitutes
  • Ketchup

Gluten-free foods:

  • Fruit, nuts and vegetables
  • Potatoes, legumes, soy
  • Milk, quark, natural yogurt, buttermilk
  • Butter, cream cheese natural, cheese
  • Meat, fish and seafood
  • Sugar, honey
  • Salt, pepper, pure spices and herbs
  • Gluten-free cereals based on rice, maize, millet, buckwheat, amaranth and quinoa
  • Gluten-free (gliadin-free) special breads, finished products with the note "gluten-free".
  • Pure fruit juices, water, wine, sparkling wine