Have you ever felt tired, gassy, or bloated after eating certain foods? Then you may have gluten intolerance — also known as nonceliac gluten sensitivity — a condition that may occur after eating gluten.
The symptoms of gluten intolerance often appear sporadically and may vary from person to person. It is, therefore, important to understand what gluten is and the first signs that you could be gluten intolerant. This article has compiled all you need to know about gluten and the common signs of gluten intolerance.
What Is Gluten?
Gluten is a combination of two proteins and is found in many varieties of cereal grains, like wheat, rye, and barley. This protein compound has no particular nutritional value but gives dough its elastic texture. Gluten can be found in foods such as bread, cereal, pasta, and pizza. Also, you should always remember to read medication labels, since gluten may be present in certain medications, as well.
This disorder causes your body to react badly to certain food or medication containing gluten. The reaction occurs in the small intestines, and, over time, it could damage the lining of the small intestines. As a result, it may lead to malabsorption — the inability of the small intestines to absorb essential nutrients.
When people suddenly develop gluten intolerance, the most likely culprit are genetic factors. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity can be seen in members of the same family, like siblings or cousins. Symptoms may occur earlier in life or at a much older age. In any case, it is essential to see your physician if you suddenly start feeling symptoms associated with eating gluten.
Common Signs of Gluten Intolerance
Those with gluten intolerance may manifest a wide range of symptoms. Some of them include digestive problems, such as bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea. Other signs that may occur include joint pain, fatigue, nausea, and headaches.
If you are gluten intolerant, symptoms may begin to show shortly after consuming a gluten-rich meal. However, some people may start experiencing the symptoms a day or so after eating gluten.
While having excessive gas could be a sign that you are intolerant to gluten, it could also be as a result of other health conditions. The truth is, gluten intolerance is not yet fully understood, but we know that making changes in what we eat helps a great deal. That is why you will have to follow a gluten-free diet to manage this condition and maintain your health.
Foods to Avoid If Gluten Intolerant
If you are gluten intolerant, avoid gluten-containing grains, such as wheat, barley, rye, wheat berries, and triticale. Other foods to avoid include:
1. White bread
2. Potato bread
3. Rye bread
4. Whole wheat bread
5. Whole wheat wraps
7. Certain condiments such as soy sauce, salad dressings, barbecue, and marinades
8. Wheat-based pastas
9. Most baked goods like doughnuts, cakes, cookies, pancakes, and waffles
How to Test for Gluten Intolerance
Your doctor may advise you to follow a gluten-free diet to find out if you are intolerant to gluten. At this stage, the physician will also rule out symptoms associated with other conditions, such as wheat allergies and celiac disease. If avoiding foods containing gluten results in reducing your symptoms, then this may indicate that you are gluten intolerant.