- Genetic: you’re born with it
- Autoimmune disease: your body attacks itself with its own immune system!
- Ingesting: eating
- Gluten: that pesky protein mentioned above
The Difference Between Gluten Intolerance, Celiac Disease, and Wheat AllergyBy: Lindsey Duncan | October 5 2016
We know, right? So confusing. Is there a difference between celiac disease and gluten intolerance? Is gluten intolerance even a real thing? If you have celiac disease, aren’t you allergic to wheat? Why so many ways to say the same thing? The thing is, they aren’t the same thing. Gluten intolerance is different from celiac disease and both are different from a wheat allergy. We get this question a lot, so we want to break it down in grain plain and simple terms. Let me start with my credentials, or more accurately, lack thereof. I’m neither a doctor nor a scientist. If you need medical advice, definitely talk to a doctor. If you need more info about protein, molecules, or our bodies’ cells, check out PubMed for scholarly articles on these subjects. The credentials I do have, however, are all three of the following diagnoses: celiac disease (14 years ago), wheat allergy (8 years ago), and oat allergy (2 years ago). This post is coming from someone who lives with a gluten free diet and is written like I would tell it to my friends, family, coworkers, and people I meet at social gatherings who wonder why I’m not partaking in the canapés. If you’re starting at Gluten Question Numero Uno, you’re currently asking “What is Gluten?” Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. (It is often in oats too–not inherently, but rather, because of cross-contamination at the field, farm, storage, transportation, or production levels.) What is gluten intolerance? Difficult to diagnose but it is a real thing. Also called non-celiac gluten intolerance. Simply, it means that your body doesn’t do well when you eat gluten but you don’t have a blood test or biopsy to substantiate the claim. I’ve heard it said that because gluten is such a large protein, it’s taxing on your body to break it down, so you’re working harder for your nutrients. Some people feel that going on a gluten free diet and opting for gluten free foods makes them feel more energized and more alert with decreased belly discomfort, seasonal allergy symptoms, headaches, and more. Gluten can cause inflammation in one’s body, and that person might say they are gluten intolerant or have gluten sensitivity. Someone with gluten intolerance might use an enzyme supplement to help their bodies break down the gluten protein if they choose to eat foods with gluten. What is celiac disease? A genetic autoimmune disease triggered by ingesting gluten. What does that mean?