Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Cramps?

Difficulty Breathing, Hives, Watery Eyes? 

Pepto Bismol advertisement, I think not!  Rather, these are symptoms of a Wheat Allergy, Gluten Sensitivity, and Celiac Disease!

Wheat Allergy is different than being gluten sensitive or having Celiac Disease.  First off, an allergy  can be outgrown.  When an individual has an allergy  the body becomes immune to a foreign substance.  Once that foreign substance is ingested it triggers a reaction, such as the symptoms shown above. A wheat allergy is an allergic reaction to foods containing wheat. When an individual is allergic to wheat it generates an allergy-causing antibody to proteins found in wheat. Avoiding wheat is the primary treatment for a wheat allergy. Therefore, it is important to read nutrition labels to know where wheat is lurking. Foods that contain wheat are: breads, cakes, breakfast cereals, crackers, beer, soy sauce, and ketchup.

 Gluten Sensitivity is a spectrum of disorders including celiac disease, wheat allergies and irritable bowl disease (IBS).  Those individuals that fail a biopsy and blood test for Celiac Disease but continue to have abdominal discomfort may become classified as gluten sensitive.  Those individuals that fall under this category need to be aware of their diet by avoiding foods that cause gastrointestinal (GI) discomfort but they do not need to be as strict as those who are diagnosed with Celiac.


Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder, rather than an allergy, that is triggered by consuming the protein found in wheat called Gluten! If an individual has an auto immune disorder they will have it forever. An autoimmune disorder occurs when the immune system reacts against its own tissues by “thinking”  part of the body is a foreign substance.  With celiac disease, gluten stimulates the production of antibodies called immunoglobulins that attack the lining of the small intestine. This leads to an inflammation of the small intestines whereby damaging the ability of the small intestines to absorb nutrients.  Malnutrition may occur as well as calcium, iron, B vitamins, and fiber deficiencies if not treated right away.

Gluten is the major protein found in some grains.  Gluten is the protein needed to make breads as it has an elastic property to help dough rise and provide a chewy texture.  It is present in all forms of wheat (bulgur, durum, semolina, spelt, farrow, etc) as well as in barley, rye and triticale (a wheat-rye cross).  Gluten  can also be found in unexpected places such as chocolate, deli meats, soy sauces, medications, vitamins, cosmetics, hair products, and some kinds of toothpastes.

A Gluten Free Diet is a diet for people who have Celiac Disease, are gluten sensitive, or have a wheat allergy.  Being gluten free means having all new appliances that have not been in contact with gluten as well as looking at every food and product label.  The good news, however, is that since more and more individuals are being diagnosed as either Celiac or gluten sensitive there are more products that are gluten free.  Other foods that are gluten free include: Fresh meat, fruit, vegetables, beans, seeds, nuts, and most dairy products.

Consuming a Gluten Free Diet is also not a “diet” to try and lose weight.  Instead, those individuals who go off gluten to lose weight actually gain weight as gluten free packaged products are often just as high in saturated fat, sugar, and sodium as other junk food.  These products also tend to contain highly processed grains such as white rice flour or fillers like potato starch that can actually affect your blood sugar and trigger cravings.  For example, if you have ever tried gluten free crackers you know you cant just eat one serving size but instead, you tend to eat half the box.  This is partly due to having a lower fiber content thereby not able to keep you feeling full.

In the end, if you have a gluten allergy, are gluten sensitive, or have had a Doctor diagnose you as Celiac start reading food labels and follow a gluten free diet.  For those of us who do not have these issue, the best food or diet to eat are whole foods that are not processed!