Northeastern University Dining Services Blog

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Gluten Free Diet: Celiac or Not?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 | 12:09 PM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , 2 comments

Currently, there is a ton of information being spread about gluten-free diets. Are they healthier? What is celiac disease? Should I remove gluten from my diet? These are questions I often get.
Grain products seem to be the latest food that people are trying to avoid. Some people are not able to eat grain products because of a wheat intolerance or because they have celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease that with the intake of gluten-containing products damages the villi of the small intestine. When the villi are damaged, there is a decrease in the absorption of valuable nutrients from any foods ingested - whether they have gluten or not! People diagnosed with celiac disease should strictly avoid gluten, which is the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley.

These days, it seems that many people are blaming the gluten in foods for an upset stomach, bloating, pain, as well as other ailments. It is important to avoid self-diagnosis and to always consult with a physician if you find your symptoms are linked to a food you are consuming. It also seems that people are removing gluten-containing foods because they are following the Paleo diet (involves removing grains, beans, and dairy products) or other popular diets that remove grains. Although the Paleo diet does encourage people to eat more fruits and vegetables (which is great!), it also encourages the removal of other food groups that are rich sources of a variety of vitamins and minerals, especially calcium and vitamin D. You should not begin removing foods without guidance from a dietitian or a physician as you may end up unnecessarily removing valuable nutrients from your diet.

Here at Northeastern, we have made several changes in the dining facilities to accommodate the growing need for meals made without gluten ingredients. Our campus executive chef will have a post later this week further explaining our menu items that are made without gluten ingredients and how this differs from the gluten free options we have available.

If you are still curious about gluten, check out these websites below. And if you would like to talk with me about gluten intolerance, celiac disease, or any other food allergy, my contact information can be found in the footer of this post.

Nutritionist Christine Clark works with Dining Services to provide you with tips and techniques to stay healthy during your time at Northeastern. If you have any further questions about this topic or are looking for more information about any other nutrition or diet topic, such as food allergies or sports nutrition, please contact her at


  1. I think it is nice that Northeastern is finally after my 7 years here starting to address Celiac but there needs to be much more extensive training. I was at Churchill and they had a "Barley" soup labeled as Gluten free. I brought it to the managers attention but they didn't know what I was talking about! They said barley isn't wheat. OY!

    1. Hi Matilda,

      Thank you for bringing this to our attention and I have already spoken to Kathy, our Café Manager at Rebecca's Cafe, to ensure all our team are fully re-briefed on the gluten free options available on our menu. Next time you are in the cafe please ask to speak with Kathy and she will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our service. If you would like to contact me directly with an additional query don't hesitate to do so at

      Thanks for choosing Rebecca's Cafe.

      Michael McAdam
      President, Rebecca's Cafe