There has been a lot of buzz lately about eating gluten free, and isn’t necessarily due just to weight loss as a lot of people suffer from gluten allergies or intolerances. In fact, according to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, approximately 1 in every 133 people has Celiac Disease, otherwise known as intolerance to gluten. Of the affected, they further estimate that 83% of those that have this condition don’t even know that they have it!
What is gluten and how do you know if you are allergic to it? Read on and you will find out.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein mixture found in a variety of wheat and related grains. This means that it is prevalent in a large number of foods from cereals to breads to pastas and more. So, how can you tell if you are sensitive to this particular substance?
Symptoms of a Gluten Allergy
If your body cannot process gluten adequately, you’ll likely suffer from one or more of these most common symptoms:
- Severe and frequent bloating and/or gas
- Issues with regularity, including diarrhea, constipation, or both
- Headaches or brain fog
- Joint and muscle aches and pains
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Being tired all of the time
- Skin conditions such as excessive dryness or acne
Because these symptoms are prevalent in a number of health conditions, it may be difficult to tell based on them alone. Although blood tests are perhaps one of the most accurate ways to find out, there is one at-home test you can do to get answers without seeing a doctor.
DIY Gluten Testing
If you want to see whether your body adversely reacts to gluten, simply remove it from your diet for 2-4 weeks to see if you eliminate or reduce your symptoms. Then, start eating gluten products again (slowly, just in case you are sensitive to it) and pay attention to how your body reacts.
If there are no issues, you probably digest gluten just fine and your symptoms are likely caused by something else. But if they start to reappear, then you may be more sensitive to gluten than you were aware.
Realizing that you have an issue with gluten is the first step to dealing with it. While this should give you enough information to help you determine if you are the 1 in 133 that suffer with gluten sensitivity, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your doctor if you want to know for sure.