It’s been popping up everywhere lately: Gluten Free. What is it all about, and why does it affect people differently? Gluten is the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Oats do not contain gluten but are often processed in a non-gluten free factory so cross-contamination is a concern.
What is the difference between ‘Celiac disease’ and ‘gluten intolerance’?
Celiac disease is when the body has an inability to properly breakdown and absorb food with gluten. An unmanaged diet can lead to permanent damage to the digestive tract and nutrient deficiencies.
The only treatment for Celiac disease: avoid ALL gluten.
Gluten intolerance is having a sensitivity to gluten with no diagnosed celiac disease, and may require gluten avoidance or minimizing intake.
How do I know if I have a gluten sensitivity?
Symptoms vary significantly to no symptoms at all, making it difficult for doctors to diagnose. The following conditions are often observed after eating gluten:
- Weight loss
- Nutritional deficiencies due to malabsorption
- Bloating, cramping, gas, constipation, diarrhea
- Aching joints
- Eczema /itchy rash
- Fatigue & irritability
- Tingling and numbness.
Testing for celiac disease involves performing a blood test followed by a small intestine biopsy.
ALWAYS CHECK THE INGREDIENT LIST!
Celiac disease must follow a strict gluten-free diet.
Gluten intolerance may be able to tolerate small amounts of gluten, keeping an eye on symptoms.
Avoid all wheat, rye, and barley. Watch for hidden gluten in oats, kamut, TVP (texturized vegetable protein), spelt and processed foods such as deli meats, salad dressings, soups.
Speak to a Registered Dietitian to learn more about following a gluten free diet.
For more information visit: http://www.celiac.ca/