Celiac Disease v. Gluten Sensitivity: What Are They and What is the Difference?

A lot of the food items on the shelves have gluten hidden in them making it harder for those with an allergy or intolerance to find a great snack or meal. Unfortunately, many are still unsure what gluten is so firstly, what is gluten? It is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, and rye and is one of the topmost rated allergens in the U.S. So, what is the difference between an allergy and an intolerance:

Celiac Disease –

1. What is it?
According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, it is “a serious autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine”.

2. How do you get it?
It is actually hereditary, so the chances of you obtaining this disease if it does not run in the family are slim.

3. What are some symptoms?
Gas, bloating, fatigue, low blood count, diarrhea, and possibly osteoporosis

Gluten Sensitivity –

1. What is it?
It is when the ingestion of gluten causes your body to have a response similar to celiac disease but does not include the immune system.

2. How do you get it?
It is in part because your body could be lacking the digestive enzymes needed.

3. How do you determine which one you have?
Go see a doctor! There are celiac blood tests to first rule out if you have celiac disease. If you do not have it, then you can start doing a gluten challenge and cut it out of your diet to see if your symptoms go away. After a while, work it back into your diet to see if your reactions reoccur.

4. What foods have gluten in them?
Pastas and noodles, breads and pastries, crackers, cereals, granola, croutons, beer, flour tortillas, and some sauces and gravies including soy sauce. There are many options for these foods that state they are gluten-free and taste the same, if not better! 

While, gluten-free options are easier to find nowadays, always make sure to read the labels. Whether you have Celiac Disease or are just intolerant to gluten, cutting it off from your diet might help! 

Consider GF alternatives to different foods. For example, rice or vegetable noodles instead of pasta, or quinoa instead of couscous.


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