Coeliac disease, how a dietitian can help?

You’ve recently been diagnosis with coeliac disease, and you’ve been advised to contact a dietitian?

Well, you’re on the right page!

The aim of this article is to briefly talk about coeliac disease and present how a dietitian can help.

What is coeliac disease

Coeliac disease is a chronic autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten (protein presents in some grains i.e. wheat, rye, oat, spelt) leads to damage in the small intestine.

Coeliac disease affects about 1 to 2% of the New Zealand population, meaning 51 000 to 102 000 kiwis have this auto-immune condition (Tanpowpong et al., 2012). Yet, unrecognized coeliac disease which was detected by population screening was three-fold more common than proven or suspected coeliac disease, meaning than more people are affected by coeliac disease than diagnosed(Cook et al., 2000).

Coeliac disease can cause a range of symptoms from gastrointestinal distress to more systemic issues such as anemia, osteoporosis, and neurological problems.

Coeliac disease symptoms from Coeliac NZ

From Coeliac NZ

The only effective treatment for coeliac disease is a strict gluten-free diet, which can be challenging to manage. This is where the expertise of a dietitian becomes invaluable.

Here’s how a dietitian can help individuals diagnosed with coeliac disease.

How a dietitian can help with coeliac disease

Education on Gluten-Free Diet

As a “gut health” dietitian and member of Coeliac NZ, one of my roles is to educate you on what a gluten-free diet entail. This includes:

  • Identifying sources of gluten. While some foods might seem easy to recognise are gluten-containing foods, there are more than we think hidden sources of gluten in foods, medications, and supplements.

  • Reading labels and fins alternatives to your fav’ foods. Read food labels and identify gluten-containing ingredients is a key learning in this “food jungle”. In consultation, you can bring and show me your favourite foods. If they contain gluten, I can help you find gluten free equivalence.

  • Cross-contamination prevention. If you live with other people who still eat gluten, we will together discuss strategies to avoid cross-contamination at home, but also in restaurants, and while travelling.

I can’t eat gluten myself, but I do love foods! I travel quite a bit in all continent so with time I have so many tips I can share to enjoy your holidays safely !

Nutritional Counseling

Patients with coeliac disease often suffer from nutritional deficiencies, including iron, calcium, vitamin D, and B vitamins, due to malabsorption. My aims are to:

  • Assess your nutritional status. I will ask you a lot about your diet habits. This will help me identify if you may lack of some nutrients. If I think is necessary, I’ll ask you to perform a blood test to verify.

  • Tailor dietary plans. Together, we will develop a personalized meal plans to address your specific nutritional needs and ensure you get a balanced intake of essential nutrients.

  • Supplementation guidance. If required, I can prescribe you appropriate supplements to correct deficiencies.

Symptom Management and Monitoring

Even on a gluten-free diet, some patients may continue to experience symptoms. A dietitian can help:

  • Identify gluten exposure. I will investigate and help you identify potential sources of accidental gluten exposure. In my experience, cross contamination is under estimated and is often the culprit when your antibodies still show positive.

  • Manage symptoms. Despite a gluten free diet, some people still suffer from symptoms such as digestive disorder. I will help you identify the triggers and how to go around them. Sometimes, your gut microbiome can be unbalanced, causing you a wide range of symptoms. We will work on your digestive ecosystem which include your gut lining, the mucus (layer protecting your gut and feeding the “good” bacteria’s”), your immune system and your microbiome. People with coeliac disease are more likely to have a small bacteria overgrowth (SIBO). We will explore it if necessary.

  • Regular monitoring. Depending on how you feel, we will see each other on a regular basis until you feel comfortable with your diet and you’re symptoms free?

Support and Resources

Living with coeliac disease can be socially and emotionally challenging. As being strictly gluten free myself, I know it’s not always easy, especially at the beginning! I will help you:

  • Find support groups if you want to share with other people with coeliac disease
  • Get the best resources. I will share recipes, meal plans, and safe food lists to make the gluten-free lifestyle more manageable.
  • Find emotional support if you need.

Here some gluten-free recipes to get you started!

Life Stage Considerations

As we’re going to different life stage, you might need some specific dietary requirements.

  • If you’re reading this post because your children just get diagnosed with coeliac disease, my aim it to ensure proper growth and development while helping your child adhering to a gluten-free diet.

  • Pregnancy. Waiting for a baby is such a beautiful experience which required close dietary monitoring to ensure the baby has everything he needs to grow an you get all the nutrient for yourself too.

  • Elderly with coeliac disease should also be closely monitoring as eating gluten-containing food can happen during elderly activities or in retirement home if staff is not prepared or trained.


Managing coeliac disease is a lifelong commitment that requires a comprehensive understanding of gluten-free living.

My aim is to make this learning fun and easy while ensuring your body get all the nutrients he needs.

As a Gut Health Dietitian member of Coeliac NZ, I am here to provide the education, support, and nutritional guidance necessary to help you maintaining a healthy, balanced diet and improve your quality of life.

By integrating these practices, I am not only help you managing the immediate symptoms of coeliac disease but also mitigate long-term health risks and identify underling issues that might occurs.

I offer online consultation. Yet, I can also come at your home help you directly “making order” in you pantry or identifying cross-contamination risk. We can also organise cooking or shopping session if you need!

Need help? Let’s talk !

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