These days, eating gluten-free has become a trend — but, for some, it has to be a lifestyle. It's one you might want to consider it if you have signs of a gluten intolerance, but unfortunately, the symptoms can be confusing and easy to miss. That is why I turned to Lon Ben-Asher MS, RDN, LD/N, from Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa, for some expert advice.
For starters, it is crucial to know the difference between a gluten intolerance and Celiac disease. The two are not the same thing. “Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which you lack the capability to breakdown gluten,” shares Ben-Asher. Gluten is the protein that is found in wheat, rye, oats, and barley. When a Celiac eats gluten, serious intestinal damage can happen.
A gluten intolerance is much different. Ben-Asher pegs this as more of a sensitivity. Sure, it is linked to the inability to breakdown gluten, but it will not cause significant digestive problems. Either way, you should visit a doctor if you have any symptoms of a gluten intolerance.
If you have one, you will have to avoid processed foods like bread, cereals, crackers, pasta, and oatmeal. You should also watch out for things like soy sauce, beer, and other foods with hidden gluten.
Not sure where to start? Here are the nine most common signs of a gluten intolerance.
If you feel fatigued and tired after eating gluten, you might be intolerant. However, keep in mind that you might just have the "itis" after a big meal. You can experiment by cutting out gluten and paying attention to your energy levels over the next few days.
Can't think straight? This is another red flag. Brain fog and forgetfulness are common symptoms of gluten intolerance, according to Ben-Asher. You might find yourself constantly confused, as if you just got out of bed.
Ben-Asher also pegs headaches as another common symptom. This can get so bad that it turns into migraines. If your headaches become persistent, visit a doctor immediately.
The scientific journal Nutrients shares that a gluten intolerance might also cause joint and muscle pain, shares Ben-Asher. Tingling may crop up in the fingers, arms, and legs. These symptoms usually show up suddenly and randomly.
Nutrients also states that a gluten intolerance doesn't make your skin very happy. Different forms of dermatitis can develop, such as eczema and skin rashes. Ben-Asher also lists acne as another potential issue.
It's no surprise that a food-related intolerance can cause digestive issues. And when it comes to gluten, bloating and gas may happen. However, according to Ben-Asher, these aren't very common symptoms. But they can definitely still happen as a result from gluten intolerance.
7Diarrhea Or Constipation
Like bloating, diarrhea or constipation can also develop. This can be uncomfortable and super annoying. If you have either of these symptoms, stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.
With symptoms like bloating and constipation, stomach pain is bound to happen. This symptom might feel a lot like painful cramps. However, keep in mind that it can happen even without bloating, gas, or abnormal bowel movements.
Lastly, Ben-Asher lists depression as another possible sign. A study in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics actually found that people with this condition feel happier when they cut out gluten. This was true even when unpleasant digestive symptoms continued.