Gluten sensitivity is no joke, and it affects about 6% to 7% of the U.S. population. Although it sounds like a non-alarming number, this represents up to 20 million people in the United States alone.
Today we will analyze the difference between a wheat allergy and Celiac Disease along with weird symptomatology and ways to prevent its symptoms.

What is Gluten? 

Gluten is the name of a protein present in wheat, barley, and rye. 
This protein is present in almost everything that we eat from pasta, bread, baked goods, to everything that needs some sort of elasticity in their ingredients (more on that in Hidden Sources).

Wheat Allergy vs Celiac Disease

Wheat Allergy:  A wheat allergy occurs when your immune system has an abnormal reaction to any of the proteins present in wheat. When a person with a wheat allergy comes into contact with wheat, their body perceives the wheat as a threat. The body sends out antibodies to attack it.
Some symptoms of wheat allergy include: 
  • hives or rash
  • irritation of the mouth and throat
  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • nasal congestion
  • eye irritation
  • trouble breathing
Celiac Disease:  Celiac Disease is a more complex condition than an allergy because it is not a reaction but an autoimmune disease. When people with celiac disease eat gluten, it triggers an immune response that damages their small intestine. This damage shortens or flattens the villi (the absorbent part of the intestine) and as a result, the body can’t properly absorb nutrients.
Some of the common symptoms of Celiac Disease include:
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • vomiting
  • acid reflux
  • fatigue
Although many claims to be celiac, the reality is that there is a difference between a simple wheat allergy and a more complex celiac disease. 
*We highly encourage you to visit your family Doctor at the appearance of the first symptomatology in both cases. 

Weird Celiac Symptomatology

About 30 percent of people with celiac don’t have the classic gut symptom and as a result, they can go misdiagnosed or completely ignoring their condition.
Although there can be more than 300 symptoms of celiac disease, some of these include:
  • Anemia
  • Infertility
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Bloating or gas
  • Itchy skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis)
  • Constipation
  • Joint pain
  • Delayed growth in children
  • Liver disease
  • Depression
  • Pale mouth sores
  • Diarrhea
  • Poor weight gain
  • Discolored teeth
  • Thin bones
  • Fatigue/tiredness
  • Tingling/numbness
  • Headaches or migraines

Hidden Sources of Gluten

Although most people can consider that cutting off cake and paste is the definitive solution for celiac symptoms, the reality is that the poisoning protein is present even in the most unlike places like:
  • ice cream, frozen yogurt, and pudding
  • granola or protein bars
  • meat and poultry
  • potato chips and french fries
  • canned soups
  • bottled salad dressings
  • shared condiments, like a jar of mayonnaise or tub of butter, which may lead to cross-contamination with utensils
  • lipsticks and other cosmetics
  • medications and supplements
This is why it is important to read labels even in cosmetic products like shampoo or moisturizer

Gluten Substitute

There’s currently no other treatment for celiac disease except the complete exclusion of gluten. 
However, it is possible to cut gluten off of your diet, without necessarily going fully plant-based. The following chart will give you switching examples of things to change in your diet:
Instead of:
wheat pasta as a main dish
gluten-free pasta made with chickpea, rice, amaranth, black bean, or brown rice flour
pasta or bread as a side dish
rice, potatoes, or gluten-free grains like amaranth, freekeh, or polenta
couscous or bulgur
quinoa or millet
wheat flour in baked goods
almond, chickpea, coconut, or brown rice flour
wheat flour as a thickener in puddings, soups, or sauces
cornstarch or arrowroot flour
brownies or cake
pure dark chocolate, sorbet, or dairy-based desserts
cereal made with wheat
cereals made with rice, buckwheat, or corn; gluten-free oats or oatmeal
soy sauce
tamari sauce or Bragg’s amino acids
wine or cocktails
We understand that dealing with a Celiac Disease is not an easy task. However, we encourage you to visit your family doctor before making any adjustments to your diet and eating habits. 
At Rehealth, we believe that having informed patients is the only way to deliver optimal healthcare. Visit our website to find out more interesting content and be a part of an amazing health integrated community!

Michelle Ibarra

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