How Do You Know If A Food Contains Gluten
There are a wide variety of food products out there that contain different varieties of grain. Wheat is the most common. Whether it’s breads, pastas, pizza dough, cakes, donuts, cookies, or cereal you are bound to see wheat as one of the main ingredients. As mentioned earlier, gluten is found in wheat, rye, spelt and barley which means that any foods containing these ingredients are not gluten-free. Reading the ingredients on a product can help you determine if a food contains gluten. However, some people can be so sensitive to gluten that even products that are processed with foods containing gluten can cause issues because of cross-contamination. By looking towards the bottom of the nutrition facts you will be able to see what types of foods are processed through that particular manufacturer helping you to avoid any gluten if necessary.
Who Is Affected By Gluten
Gluten itself is not generally a problem but when introduced to those with celiac disease it can create a number of issues. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition where a person’s immune system attacks cells of the small intestine. For those with celiac disease, ingesting gluten breaks down the villi of the small intestine leading to health complications due to nutrients not being absorbed into the system. Villi are small projections that stick out into the open space of your intestine that is covered in cells helping them to absorb nutrients from food as it passes through. Why someone has celiac disease is yet to be determined but some believe it has to do with genetics.
Other people who are affected by gluten are those who have what is called nonceliac gluten sensitivity, otherwise known as NCGS. NCGS is different from celiac or gluten intolerance because it does not destroy the walls of the small intestines but they do share common symptoms. Oftentimes those with a gluten sensitivity experience immediate symptoms after ingesting foods containing gluten which can be digestive or non-digestive. Staying clear of gluten in their diet can eliminate symptoms and keep them from reappearing but if reintroduced, the same symptoms can reappear. The key in knowing whether or not you have NCGS is ruling out celiac disease/gluten intolerance as well as any probable wheat allergy. Once these are ruled out a medical professional can then determine if NCGS is the root of your symptoms.
Signs Of Celiac Disease
Signs of celiac disease can vary from one individual to the next but the most common signs that people report are diarrhea, bloating, excessive gas, constipation, fatigue, weight loss, anemia, depression, and an itchy rash. All of these symptoms can be due to other underlying health issues which is why it is important to talk with a medical professional about whether celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity is the root issue.
Bloating in particular is common because of inflammation within the small intestines. Due to the response of one’s immune system attacking the cells within the small intestines walls inflammation can occur as a result leading to bloating. Excessive gas, constipation, and diarrhea are also a byproduct of the immune system’s defensive response to having gluten in the system while symptoms such as anemia and weight loss can be attributed to the lack of nutrients being absorbed because intestinal villi are destroyed.
Gluten sensitivity or celiac disease is something that should be diagnosed by a medical professional. Specific tests are run in order to determine if this is the root cause of any symptoms you may be experiencing. Talking with your physician will help you determine if gluten may be destroying your digestive system.