Demystifying Gluten: Gluten Intolerance v. Celiac Disease

By Kaci Lee

Between 5-10% of people in the U.S. have gluten sensitivity. One of them could be you.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is what is found in many foods that we eat today. It is the combination of two proteins found in breads. Wheat, barley, rye and any combination of these grains contain gluten. For many, that means giving up certain breads, cookies, pasta, and cereal from their diet.

The Difference between Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance

Those that are sensitive to gluten may not have celiac disease. Celiac disease is an immune reaction that occurs when gluten is consumed. It affects 1 in 133 Americans. The allergic reaction has a negative effect on the small intestine. The continual consumption of gluten can lead to malnutrition and other ill effects.

Those with a gluten intolerance (not Celiac disease) have taken the test for Celiac disease and received a negative result. Yet, they still have a few symptoms after gluten consumption. Those with intolerance have the symptoms, but not the autoimmune disease. Instead of the body attacking itself, the body declares war on the gluten inside, viewing it as an invader.

Signs of Gluten Intolerance

There are many tell-tale signs of showing intolerance to gluten, including (taken from Medical News Today):

  • Inflammation in the joints
  • Digestive Issues
  • Fluid Retention
  • Iron Deficiency Anemia
  • Weight Loss
  • Migraine and Headaches
  • Depression or Anxiety
  • Keratosis Pilaris  (skin rash also known as ‘chicken skin’)

Self-Test and Cure

If you are experiencing a few of these symptoms, try going without gluten for a few weeks. If the symptoms ease up, there is a high probability that you have gluten intolerance.

There is no cure for gluten intolerance besides cutting the foods that contain it from your diet.  Besides the basics, food items that have a chance of containing gluten include:

  • Soy Sauce
  • Imitation Fish
  • Salad Dressings
  • Fried Foods
  • Seasoned chips and other seasoned snack foods
  • Hot Dogs
  • Malt

Be sure to check the labels on all products that do not state they are gluten-free directly. If not, there are some products that are bound to surprise you. With all of the new products in the market that provide a ‘gluten-free’ label, living a life without gluten is not hard at all. The first step is finding out if a gluten-free lifestyle is best for your health.

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Categories: Your Nutrition

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