Signs You Should Go Gluten-Free, According To A Nutritionist

Going gluten-free is much easier these days than it was many years ago. You can find gluten-free aisles in grocery stores, and restaurants offer gluten-free dishes to serve those who suffer from celiac disease or gluten intolerance. People might choose to go gluten-free for certain reasons, but other people have to give up gluten because they might have a health condition that necessitates it.

Melissa Baker from FoodQueries, a website dedicated to providing recipes for delicious foods and answering questions related to food storage and spoilage, says there are some signs that could indicate a need for eliminating gluten from your diet, such as experiencing bloating, gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation after eating something with gluten. "Other symptoms may include fatigue, brain fog, headaches, joint pain, and skin rashes," Baker said. "However, it's important to note that these symptoms may have other underlying causes, so it's important to work with a healthcare provider before eliminating gluten from the diet."

Gluten intolerance versus a gluten allergy

Baker says that some people have gluten intolerance while others have an allergy to gluten. "Gluten intolerance, also known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity, is a condition where someone experiences symptoms similar to celiac disease after consuming gluten-containing foods, but without the damage to the small intestine that characterizes celiac disease," Baker said. A gluten intolerance is typically diagnosed based on symptoms, and blood tests or intestinal biopsy can rule out celiac disease. After that, a medical provider will recommend eliminating gluten from the diet to see if the symptoms still exist. "If symptoms improve, a gluten challenge may be performed to confirm the diagnosis of gluten intolerance," Baker said.

Other people might experience allergy symptoms such as hives, itching, and difficulty breathing after contacting or eating something with gluten. Baker says someone with a gluten allergy will have an immune system that sees gluten as a threat. An allergy test typically determines a gluten allergy.

Baker says it's best to work with a medical professional and registered dietician to make sure you get the right nutrients from a gluten-free diet. She says rice, quinoa, and corn can substitute for grains that have gluten. She advises people to look closely at food labels to make sure there aren't any hidden gluten sources. "A gluten-free diet can be challenging to follow, but with the right support and resources, it can be a healthy and manageable way of eating," Baker said.