Are you gluten-intolerant or gluten-sensitive?
Many people have intestinal symptoms after eating gluten though they don’t have celiac disease. Research led by a top celiac researcher suggests that gluten-intolerant people do have an immune response to gluten, but it’s not the same one as in celiac. They may be reacting to different components of wheat than celiac patients do.
If you feel better when you don’t eat wheat, some research suggests you may benefit from a diet for people with irritable bowel syndrome that rules out certain kinds of poorly digested carbohydrates, including wheat. However, that diet has risks of its own. And other research has found that patients diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome react to gluten powder (which wouldn’t trigger the carbohydrate problem).
Some people feel depressed after eating wheat, even though they don’t have celiac.
The bottom line: The science about why people react badly to wheat or feel better when they avoid it is still developing. We do know that if you have celiac disease, it is dangerous to be careless about your diet.
March 25, 2020
Christopher Nystuen, MD, MBA