- What Is It
- Celiac Disease
- Gluten Sensitivity
- Wheat Allergy
- Gluten-Free Diet
- Related Resources
Some people may develop temporary gluten intolerance after a bout of gastroenteritis, which usually resolves within a few weeks.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. When grain flours are mixed with water, it is gluten that acts as a binder, making the dough stretchy.
Although oats and corn do not naturally contain gluten, they may come in contact with these grains during harvesting and may contain gluten as a result.
What is celiac disease?
Some people develop a defect in their immune system signaling, which causes their body to attack their cells when they consume gluten. This autoimmune response to gluten is called celiac disease. It can damage the small intestine by instructing the immune system to destroy the villi, small finger-like projections found along the wall of their small intestine, which help absorb digested food in the bloodstream. It affects 1 out of every 100 people in the United States.
When the intestine loses its villi, it cannot properly absorb nutrients from food. Over time, this can lead to complications such as:
What is gluten sensitivity?
Studies suggest that nearly 6 out of every 100 people in the United States are gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive. While anyone can have gluten intolerance, it is more common in women.
What makes people sensitive to gluten is still unclear. One theory suggests that gluten damages the lining of the intestines in people with gluten sensitivity, which causes the intestine to become leaky when it comes into contact with wheat. Another theory suggests that it is the carbohydrate found in food grains that does not get absorbed into the intestine. Instead, it ferments and makes people sick.
People who have gluten sensitivity may develop symptoms hours or days after consuming gluten, such as:
Over time, gluten sensitivity can cause:
Many people with gluten intolerance also suffer from irritable bowel syndrome.
What is wheat allergy?
Wheat allergies develop when the immune system overreacts to wheat products such as bread and pasta. Symptoms may include:
Is a gluten-free diet good for everyone?
For people with the following conditions, a gluten-free diet may be beneficial:
- Celiac disease
- Gluten sensitivity
- Wheat allergy
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel diseases and Crohn’s disease
- Dermatitis herpetiformis (skin disorder)
- Gluten ataxia (a type of neurological disorder)
- Type I diabetes
- Human immunodeficiency virus-associated enteropathy
For healthy people, however, there is no evidence that proves that a gluten-free diet has health benefits. In fact, eliminating foods that contain gluten may deprive the body of certain nutrients.
What is a gluten-free diet?
Check labels of foods and beverages that may contain gluten, such as:
- Granola bars
- French fries
- Potato chips
- Lunch meats
- Candy or candy bars
- Salad dressings and marinades
- Meat substitutes such as seitan
- Soy sauce
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Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Niland B, Cash BD. Health Benefits and Adverse Effects of a Gluten-Free Diet in Non-Celiac Disease Patients. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2018;14(2):82-91. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5866307/
Biesiekierski JR. What is gluten? J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017 Mar;32 Suppl 1:78-81. doi: 10.1111/jgh.13703
Top Is Gluten Good or Bad for You Related Articles
Celiac disease is a condition in which a person has inflammation of the small intestinal mucosa when exposed to gluten in the diet. Symptoms of celiac disease include bloating, nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort. Treatment is a gluten free diet. Some individuals may have refractory celiac disease in which they do not respond to a gluten free diet.
Celiac Disease QuizCould celiac disease be the cause of your tummy troubles? Take the Celiac Disease Quiz to learn what certain foods may be doing to your insides. Learn symptoms to look for as well as how to treat this digestive disorder.
Celiac Disease SlideshowDo you suffer from celiac disease? Learn about diet, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments for this digestive disorder that occurs in reaction to gluten and damages the intestines.
Guide to Non-Wheat FloursWheat isn’t the only source of flour. Rice, oats, rye, chickpeas, and many other foods can be made into flour. Find out more about different flours and how to use them.
Gluten-Free DietStarting a gluten free diet? Get the facts about gluten free foods -- with tips on what to avoid, what to enjoy, and delicious, gluten-free alternatives to keep you healthy and happy.
Is Food Intolerance the Same as Food Allergy?Food intolerance is a condition in which an individual has difficulty in digesting certain foods. Consumption of these foods manifests as physical symptoms such as bloating, loose motion, gases, and bellyache. Food intolerance is quite common. Most people are aware of the foods that disagree with them.
What Are the Most Common Food Intolerances?Food intolerance is a condition in which a person is unable, or finds it difficult to digest certain foods, and experiences gastrointestinal disturbances when they eat such foods. Food intolerance occurs when the digestive system cannot break down certain ingredients in food.
What Are the Symptoms of Celiac Disease in Adults?What is celiac disease? Learn the signs of celiac disease, how doctors diagnose celiac disease, and what you can do to manage your celiac disease symptoms.
What Kind of Pain Does Celiac Disease Cause?Celiac disease is a type of autoimmune disease that affects the digestive system. Celiac disease is associated with abdominal pain and bloating.