Learn All About Gluten Intolerance

Celiac disease and gluten intolerance are closely related but different at the same time. In this article, learn all about gluten intolerance.
Learn All About Gluten Intolerance

Last update: 13 November, 2020

Celiac disease and gluten intolerance are related. However, they’re also very different. Although the root cause of the problem is gluten, there are nuances. In this article, learn all about gluten intolerance.

The immune system of people who suffer from celiac disease reacts aggressively when gluten, a protein present in cereals, circulates through their digestive tract. Therefore, celiac patients must strictly follow a gluten-free diet for life. Meanwhile, although gluten sensitivity isn’t an autoimmune reaction, those who suffer from it notice an improvement when they restrict this protein from their diet.

What’s gluten?

Gluten is a glycoprotein found in popular cereals such as wheat, barley, rye, or oats. It’s also present in other cereals that people consume less frequently, such as spelt (also called dinkel wheat) and triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye). According to a review published in the journal Nutrients, it’s a nutrient that can negatively interact with some people’s digestive system.

In turn, gluten is composed of two glycoproteins: gliadin and glutenin. Gluten is responsible for the elasticity of flour dough, which allows the bread to rise along with fermentation. It’s also responsible for the elastic and fluffy consistency of baked dough.

Dough that contains gluten.
Most cereals and their derivatives contain gluten. This is the substance that allows bread to rise, along with fermentation.

All about gluten intolerance

Many more people suffer from gluten sensitivity than celiac disease. Is it possible for your body to react to gluten if you don’t suffer from celiac disease? Indeed, many people say that they feel much better when they don’t consume gluten, even if they don’t follow a strict diet.

Although their duodenal villi are usually normal, eating foods with gluten makes them sick and causes:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Migraines

Patients with gluten intolerance feel bad when they consume gluten. However, this glycoprotein doesn’t damage their digestive tract. Celiac sufferers may or may not have discomfort. Nevertheless, gluten progressively deteriorates their intestines. Thus, they have no other option but to follow a strict gluten-free diet for life. This is why regular checkups are important.

This article may interest you: All About Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance


In the specific case of gluten sensitivity or intolerance, and given that experts haven’t yet identified a specific biological marker of this disorder, the treatment would help to confirm this diagnosis. It consists of elimination diets with the subsequent reintroduction of foods, observing the clinical changes that occur in both periods.

The use of probiotics is a promising therapy against celiac disease, especially to prevent it. Based on current scientific articles, some experts state that these bacteria may also be able to improve the symptoms associated with gluten intolerance.

Gluten-containing foods that should be avoided

To control gluten sensitivity and its symptoms, you need to avoid foods that contain it in large quantities.

Here are the foods a person with gluten problems should avoid:

  • Wheat, barley, rye, spelt, and kamut.
  • Everything that’s made with the above cereals, such as bread, flour, semolina, and pasta.
  • Many commercial products use it for texture. For example, bakery and pastry products, ice cream, chocolate, pizza, cheese, sausages, pate, canned foods, and beer, among others. You have to look closely at the labels.

To avoid deficiencies, you must substitute the aforementioned cereals for other gluten-free ones with a similar carbohydrate contribution:

  • Rice, corn, millet, sorghum, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, and cassava are a few options.
  • For the same reason, people who suffer from this condition should also eat plenty of potatoes and legumes.

You shouldn’t follow a gluten-free diet to lose weight

  • Gluten-free diets have become popular for weight loss. However, you should only cut out gluten from your diet due to health issues. In addition, studies have proven that some gluten-free products contain more trans fats or sugar to improve their texture.
  • If your body has a problem with gluten and you cut it out from your diet, you may feel less bloating and heaviness. However, this isn’t synonymous with weight loss.

You must restrict gluten if you suffer from gluten sensitivity

Although gluten intolerant patients can consume foods with this glycoprotein, they may suffer digestive discomfort afterward. For this reason, experts often advise these patients to avoid gluten as much as possible, opting for foods labeled gluten-free.

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  • Balakireva AV., Zamyatnin AA., Properties of gluten intolerance: gluten structure, evolution, pathogenicity and detoxification capabilities. Nutrients, 2016.
  • Serena G., Fasano A., Use of probiotics to prevent celiac disease and IBD in pediatrics, Adv Exp Med Biol, 2019. 1125: 69-81.