What is Gluten Intolerance?

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  • Last Modified Date: 10 September 2019
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Gluten intolerance is also called celiac disease and is an inherited condition that causes an extreme physical reaction when they ingest gluten from grains like wheat, barley, and rye. The condition is not curable, and can become severe, damaging the small intestine and causing poor absorption of vitamins and minerals or malnutrition. Though it usually cannot be cured, gluten intolerance can be addressed by avoiding products which contain gluten. This is becoming easier to do with many low or gluten-free foods available, which make good substitutes for foods with gluten. It's a good thing that such foods have been marketed, since about one in 100 people may suffer from gluten intolerance.

People with gluten intolerance respond to gluten by having an immune reaction. This can cause a variety of symptoms. Diarrhea, fatigue, anemia, sudden malnutrition, weight loss, weight gain, and muscle cramps may all result. The condition is usually diagnosed through blood testing to see if antibodies develop in response to gluten. When the condition is discovered, gluten intolerance is then treated by a modified diet.


It is extremely important to adhere to a diet free from wheat, barley, and rye for life, even when symptoms are no longer present. As people don't get over gluten intolerance, and each time gluten is ingested, a sufferer may be risking the health of his intestines permanently. It is particularly important for someone with this condition to carefully read labels and ask what dishes contain gluten when dining out. A sauce, for example, might be thickened with white flour and should not be consumed. Gluten is added to a variety of products that one would not normally think contain wheat, and the standard rule is to not consume anything the sufferer may be unsure about.

Since gluten intolerance can so severely affect health, many products now contain labeling that says "gluten free," or indicate if products contain gluten. This type of labeling may be found in a lot of natural foods stores, which are the resource of people with gluten intolerance. Alternative flours, vitamins without gluten, and products that are gluten free are easiest to find at health food or natural foods stores, and are usually most accurately labeled.

Having gluten intolerance doesn't mean a person cannot eat a relatively normal and standard diet. Unless he or she has other severe food allergies, most proteins, vegetables, and many grains are available, and he or she may be able to use types of flour other than wheat, barley, and rye. Some people tolerate soy flours and rice flours very well. People with this condition should speak to their doctor or nutritionist regarding alternatives to standard wheat, rye, and barley flour or gluten.


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Post 8

I am very glad to see such information, which I was searching for a long time. Gluten allergies are more common than other food allergies. It is more common in adult people. Gluten is a kind of protein which is found in wheat.

Post 6

While food items like wheat and bulgar clearly contain gluten, there are some foods that contain "hidden gluten." Food additives such as dextrin, modified food starch, artificial flavorings, and various extracts all contain hidden gluten. Many pre-prepared soups, sauces, dressings, imitation krab meat, gravies, vegetarian-friendly imitation meats, and soy sauce all also contain traces of hidden gluten.

Post 5

There are varying sensitivities to gluten. Some people are not affected by ingesting small amounts of gluten, while some may become ill by walking into a bakery. Always test for the severity of this and all food allergies with a licensed health care professional.

Post 4

@anon17245- While some people do grow out of food intolerances over time, it is important to always check with a physician before implementing new food items into a strict diet. It should never be taken upon an unlicensed individual with food allergies to try to "heal their gut" without consulting a doctor.

Post 3

At my college cafeteria, there was a separate set of toasters and bagel slicers for gluten-free products, since some people with gluten intolerance can even be affected by using the same appliances that have been used for bread products containing gluten.

Post 1

gluten intolerance is not the same thing as celiac disease. You can have a digestive and/or an immune response to gluten. Celiac disease is the "end result" of gluten intolerance. Especially if gluten intolerance is not addressed early on.Some people can heal their gut and start back eating gluten in a rotating diet.

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