Over the past few years, we have all been hearing about going gluten free. Is this just another hyped-up diet fad or is there something more to it than that? Since the entire gluten free issue has been introduced to the public, there has been a mixed reaction to its validity in terms of being considered an actual health problem .
Some claim, including the media at times, that gluten-free is a myth. It's only another diet, money-making scam put out there for the hypochondriacs of the world. But others, including myself, have found that gluten is too real of a danger to ignore.In fact, to be able to really understand it, we must first understand what gluten is.
To put it bluntly, it is a protein found in foods processed from wheat, barley and rye. Gluten is responsible for that elasticity in dough, helping it rise and giving the final product that fluffy texture we all love. It is composed of four proteins: gliadin (a prolamin protein), gluteline (a gluteline protein), albumins, and globulins. Gliadin and glutelins are found in wheat and these are the proteins that directly affect health and create problems such as celiac disease.
Gluten intolerance also known as gluten sensitivity, non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), or gluten allergy can have symptoms that range from gastrointestinal complaints, neurological issues and physical exhaustion. Most of these symptoms are different from person to person and this is why it can be so difficult to get a proper diagnosis. This condition has yet to be proven but there is no denying its existence.
Celiacs disease is the official medical term for an autoimmune disorder in which your intestinal villi becomes damaged when you eat gluten. It affects around 1 in 133 people in the United States alone, making it a common condition. The problem is that the symptoms treated from gluten intolerance are exactly the same as the ones that celiacs disease causes. The most common symptoms are constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, stomach cramps, fatigue, brain fog, headaches and joint pain. If you're experiencing these symptoms, the only way to know for sure is to take a celiacs test. But what happens when it turns out negative?
This is exactly what happened to me after getting tested for life-crippling symptoms. Even though my tests came out negative, I took it up myself to go gluten-free. Within a week, half of my symptoms subsided. Within a month, I was feeling almost back to normal. Many who cut out gluten from their diets, such as I, find relief from their symptoms and this is where the term gluten intolerance derives from.
If you receive a negative celiacs test, it is more than likely that you do not have it. (Although getting a second opinion will never hurt) There are still options you can pursue with gluten sensitivity testing. Such as taking blood tests that will look specifically for gluten antibodies in your blood. Of course, the more effective way would be to make a diet elimination test. Your dietary response based on gluten elimination will be the indication whenever or not you're sensitive to gluten.