Gluten is a combination of proteins that are found in wheat, rye, and barley. If you are someone who suffers from digestive issues, a gluten free diet maybe just what the doctor ordered.
In some people, their genetically based auto immune system reacts to proteins in gluten and therefore they are intolerant to those proteins. Inflammation in the small intestine is usually an indicator of gluten intolerance. The inflammation will damage the villi which lines the small intestines. The villi are what deliver the nutrients into the bloodstream. Without the villi, your body will not take in those nutrients and you will become malnourished. This usually will lead to diarrhea, gas, bloating, constipation, and many more symptoms. If left untreated anemia, infertility, and cancer can occur.
Diagnosing Gluten Intolerance
A diagnosis of celiac disease confirming gluten intolerance is usually a three-step process. The first step is getting a blood test to analysis antibodies that are typical of celiac disease. The second test in diagnosing celiac disease involves the doctor performing a small biopsy on the intestinal tissue. The doctor is looking for damage to the villi in your small intestine. The third step in diagnosing is to put the patient on a gluten-free diet. Being on a gluten-free diet will confirm the diagnosis and will help to grow back the villi that have been damaged.
Understanding Gluten Intolerance
If the tests you have taken all come back negative and yet you still have symptoms after eating pasta, cereals, or bread than you may have wheat intolerance. The symptoms of wheat intolerance can take two or three days to appear and is hard to diagnose. However, as with many food allergies, the best way to help you sort them out is to begin a doctor directed elimination diet. This will help you find what foods are safe to include in your diet.
How to Start a Gluten Free Diet
The best way to begin a gluten free diet is to remove all protein that comes from wheat, barley, rye or any hybrids of those grains. Most all other foods should be safe other than oats. Since many grains are harvested, shipped and processed together, oats could have been contaminated with the other grain proteins. The exception is if the label states it to be gluten free.
The food label will give you an idea of whether it is gluten free or not. If a food product has wheat or wheat protein, then the label must clearly state that. Also, look out for modified food starch, dextrin, maltodextrin, caramel, and glucose syrup as they may contain traces of wheat. Beer, bouillon cubes, some candies, sauces, seasoned tofu and soymilk may have wheat proteins as well.