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Fiber and the Gluten-Free Diet

 

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7/26/2012

Question:

I was diagnosed with celiac 6 years ago at the age of 56.  I was just operated on for acute/severe diverticulitis. How can I get enough fiber in my diet for this not to occur again?  Thank you.

From,
Susan

Answer:

Dear Susan,

I’m very sorry to hear about your recent bout with acute diverticulitis.  Having had a close relative that has dealt with this in the past, I am very sympathetic to how painful this condition can be. I hope you’re feeling much better now!

Your question about getting enough fiber in your diet to help prevent a recurrence is a good one, especially since you will need to focus on eating foods that are not only high in fiber, but that are also gluten-free as well.

Assuming you have been given the go ahead to ease back in to a regular diet from your physician, your overall goal should be to try and consume 20-25 grams of fiber per day (based on an average need of 21 grams for an individual 51-70 years old).  Gluten-free, fiber rich foods to include in your daily diet are fresh fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, and whole gluten-free grains including quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, brown and black/purple rice, millet, and certified gluten-free oats if you tolerate them.

Up until recently, doctors had recommended that people with diverticular disease avoid nuts, corn/popcorn, and seeds thinking these foods could get trapped in the diverticula which would then become inflamed. However, more recently recommendations are that these foods are probably safe for most people. I have found that these foods are indeed well tolerated by some individuals, but not by others, so my recommendation here, is to proceed with caution with these foods, and check with your physician to see if he or she feels these foods are safe for you to consume.

One final recommendation regarding adding fiber to your diet is to add them slowly, and drink plenty of liquids to avoid constipation.

In good health,
EA Stewart, MBA, RD

Related Content:
Gluten-Free Isn't Just About Avoidance

Answers from a Dietitian: Gluten-Free Laxatives and Enzymes
Answers from a Dietitian: Sensitivity to Fiber, Sugars and Fats

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