March is National Nutrition Month, a nutrition education and information campaign conducted annually by the American Dietetic Association. In honor of National Nutrition Month, I would like to highlight the many ways the ADA is increasing awareness of celiac disease and the gluten-free diet among dietitians.

Evidence Analysis Library
The EAL “is a synthesis of the best, most relevant nutritional research on important dietetic practice questions in an accessible, online, user-friendly library.” Celiac disease is included in the EAL and is free to all members of the ADA.

Questions looked at include safety of oats, whether the gluten-free diet is nutritionally adequate, and the long-term effectiveness of a gluten-free diet on bone density, iron deficiency anemia, villous atrophy, and quality of life. The ADA is now in the process of developing practice recommendations on celiac disease for dietitians.

Dietitians in Gluten Intolerance Diseases
DIGID is a subunit of the Medical Nutrition Care Practice Group. Members have access to free patient education resources on celiac disease, a quarterly newsletter, and the celiac-dietetic listserv.

The Journal of the American Dietetic Association frequently publishes peer-reviewed articles on celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. Recent articles include Advances in Celiac Disease and the Gluten-Free Diet and Commercial Assays to Assess Gluten Content of Gluten-Free Foods: Why They Are Not Created Equal.

An extensive section on celiac disease is included in ADA’s online Nutrition Care Manual which is used by hospitals nationwide.

ADA also publishes the patient education booklet Celiac Disease Nutrition Guide and will be co-publishing a gluten-free cookbook in 2010.

Registered Dietitian Day!
As part of National Nutrition Month 2009, ADA celebrates Registered Dietitian Day on March 11th. If you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease it is very important that you schedule an appointment with a dietitian knowledgeable in celiac disease.

For a state-by-state listing of dietitians, please see the newsletter page at Scroll down the column on the right hand side of the page until you come to the dietitian listing.

In honor of Registered Dietitian Day, I would like to pay tribute to all my dietitian colleagues who work so tirelessly on behalf of persons with celiac disease — thank you for all you do.

These dietitians have written books (Nancy Falini, Gluten-Free Friends: An Activity Book for Kids), are consultants to assisted living facilities and hospitals (Ronni Alicea,, and work for gluten-free food manufacturers (Anne Lee, Schar).

They run national celiac disease support groups (Cynthia Kupper, Gluten Intolerance Group), facilitate local support groups (Laura Steenwyk, Hendersonville Celiac Support Group), and teach gluten-free cooking classes (Linda Simon,

They are dietitians in celiac disease centers (Melinda Dennis, Celiac Center at BIDMC, Boston), hospitals (Trisha Lyons, MetroHealth Medical Center, Ohio), mental health facilities (Shannon Longhurst, Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division), and private practice (Cheryl Harris,

They are specialists in celiac disease and diabetes (Suzanne Simpson, Celiac Disease Center Columbia University, New York) and pediatric celiac disease (Pamela Cureton, University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research).

Still others volunteer countless hours to the American Dietetic Association (Mary K Sharrett, Chair of Dietitians in Gluten Intolerance Diseases, ADA).

These are just a very few of the celiac disease dietitians and their many activities. Kudos to all of you!

I also would like to say a very special thank you to Major Holly Brewer who is currently serving in Iraq. When home in Las Vegas, she is a pediatric dietitian and diabetes educator who counsels children with celiac disease.

Copyright © by Tricia Thompson, MS, RD

Also available at

Increasing Awareness Of A Gluten-Free Diet