If you recently discovered that you have a gluten sensitivity – don’t panic: you have options.
What’s The Difference Anyway?
Much is discussed in both the media and in everyday conversations about the need to go gluten-free. While most health experts agree that going gluten-free can be a beneficial decision for your health, there are different reasons people cut gluten from their diets. Two of the most significant reasons for going gluten-free is celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. But though these terms are frequently heard, it can be tricky to know what exactly the difference is. Read on to find out what you need to know and what the differences are.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition in which a person cannot tolerate consuming gluten (found in wheat, rye, and barley). Even the smallest amount of gluten will trigger a reaction in the body, resulting in inflammation and damage in the small intestine. This damage leads to poor absorption of nutrients, which can, in turn, lead to additional health problems.
In addition to the problems related to the small intestine damage, people suffering from the untreated celiac disease often suffer from symptoms such as diarrhea, stomach cramping, gas, bloating, and other GI-related symptoms. In addition to the GI troubles, people often experience, headaches, mental ‘fog,’ mood changes, and skin problems are also frequently reported. Symptoms vary widely in scope and intensity.
To test for celiac disease, doctors can perform a blood test to check for the presence of gluten-reactive antibodies, which is then followed up by endoscopy of the small intestine if found positive. If you are considering having this test done, it’s helpful to know that to get accurate results; the analysis must be performed before removing gluten from the diet. The only cure for celiac disease is strict adherence to a gluten-free diet.
People who suffer from gluten sensitivity, also referred to as gluten intolerance, suffer from the same symptoms as people with celiac disease. But, in the case of gluten sensitivity, no damage is done to the small intestine in the case of gluten sensitivity.
Unlike with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity has no medical test that can be performed to give a diagnosis. Instead, you should attempt a trial period of eliminating gluten from your diet to see if you have a sensitivity. To do this, cut all gluten from your diet for at least two weeks. During this time, log what you eat and how you feel to give you the best results. If you notice improvement, you likely suffer from some level of gluten sensitivity and can treat it by keeping gluten out of your diet entirely.
Ultimately, whether your issue is gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, replacing gluten containing foods with real, unprocessed foods are your best ways to achieve your best health!
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If you recently discovered that you have a gluten sensitivity – don’t panic: you have options. Learn what’s on the market, look into nutrition, check out our spotlights and reviews – make an educated choice!