Gluten intolerance may also be mistaken for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This is because they have similar symptoms. However, IBS is not specifically triggered by eating gluten, although it can be caused by the fructans in wheat products.
Is there a gluten intolerance test?
There is no specific test for gluten intolerance. You might get diagnosed with gluten intolerance if you are tested for coeliac disease and get a negative result. This means coeliac disease is ruled out. So, when you test negative for coeliac disease, your symptoms may be because of something else.
If you have symptoms and you think it’s because of gluten, speak to a doctor for further advice.
Should I eat a gluten free diet?
A gluten-free diet can benefit you if you have gluten intolerance or other types of gluten sensitivity. If you have coeliac disease, you will need to follow a strictly gluten-free diet.
If you have gluten intolerance, you should also follow a gluten-free diet, although you might be able to tolerate a small amount of gluten. But if you have symptoms after eating gluten, they should get better when you stop eating gluten.
If you don’t have a specific condition, you should still be able to eat gluten. You might have heard claims that eating a gluten free diet is healthier for you. But there is no strong evidence to support this.
If you don’t eat gluten, you could be excluding wholegrain from your diet. Wholegrain foods are good for you as they are a source of fibre.
What are gluten free foods?
Gluten free foods are products which have had their gluten removed. They offer you gluten free alternatives to foods that normally have gluten in such as bread, pasta and beer. You can find gluten free foods in most supermarkets or health food shops. They are sometimes on their own shelf.
You should also check the labels on foods. It should say if the product contains gluten, as well as giving a list of ingredients. Foods labelled ‘gluten-free’, ‘very low gluten’ or have the Crossed Grain Symbol are generally safe for most people with gluten sensitivity.
Foods that are naturally gluten free include rice, potato, eggs, fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, milk, quinoa, corn, buckwheat, pulses, and eggs.
Check with your doctor if you are unsure about eating gluten. A registered dietician can help you to ensure you eat a well-balanced diet.