Disclaimer: we are not medical professionals, consult with your doctor before making any kind of change in your diet!
Some say it’s the word of the decade, some say it’s just a sham. We think it’s actually somewhere in the middle – but let’s talk about gluten!
Of course, before we get into intolerance vs allergy, we have to talk about what gluten is. Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat (wheatberries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, farro, graham, KAMUT® Khorasan wheat and einkorn), rye, barley, and triticale – a cross between wheat and rye. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together and it can be found in myriad types of foods, even ones that would not be expected.
A person with gluten intolerance or sensitivity may experience pain and bloating after eating foods that contain gluten. Research indicates that around 1% of people in the United States have celiac disease, 1% have a wheat allergy, and 6% or more have a gluten intolerance — also known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
But let’s break them down and see what’s what.
Gluten allergy aka celiac disease
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system responds abnormally to gluten. Gluten is present in wheat, barley, and rye. If you have celiac disease, eating gluten will cause your immune system to destroy your villi, the fingerlike parts of your small intestine that are responsible for absorbing nutrients.
Without healthy villi, you won’t be able to get the nutrition that you need, which can lead to malnutrition. Celiac disease can have serious health consequences, including permanent intestinal damage.
Adults and children often experience different symptoms due to celiac disease, but some of the symptoms are: abdominal bloating and gas, constipation, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting.
Gluten intolerance can cause similar symptoms to celiac disease, but it is a different issue with different long-term effects. The symptoms of gluten intolerance may also resemble those of a wheat allergy or intestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
People with celiac disease must avoid gluten, as it can cause intestinal damage and prevent the body from absorbing essential nutrients. Those with a wheat allergy must avoid all wheat products, as consuming any could be immediately life-threatening.
On the other hand, gluten intolerance can lead to discomfort, but it is unlikely to cause severe symptoms that require emergency care.
However, experts are unsure of exactly what causes gluten intolerance and how it relates to similar illnesses. Some researchers have suggested that other ingredients in wheat, not gluten, may be causing some of these reactions, so it’s worth keeping up to date with the most recent developments and discovers in the field.
What to do about it
If you think you might suffer from a gluten- or wheat-related condition, then it’s important that you talk to your doctor before diagnosing yourself or beginning any treatment on your own. An allergist or gastroenterologist can run tests and discuss your history with you to help reach a diagnosis.
It’s especially important to see a doctor in order to rule out celiac disease. Celiac disease can lead to severe health complications, especially in children.
Living that gluten-free life
Let’s say you went to the doctor and it’s true, you have to make the shift towards a gluten-free life. It may seem daunting at first, with gluten being present in oh sooo many foods and drinks, but trust us, it’s not as challenging as it sounds.
Many gluten-free and wheat-free alternatives to common foods are available such as bread, pasta, cereals, and baked goods. And we are the proof of that!
After years and years of recipe development and testing, we can definitely say that we have found a way to eat gluten-free and still enjoy all the wonderful things that make dessert so so great. Not only that – we took things a step further and also made our desserts lactose-free, egg-free, sugar-free, and 100% natural. Some of them are even vegan!
And if you wanna try them all (and see how gluten-free sweets make you feel), you should check out the Minis: with one of each of our 6 main flavours (Chocolate Lover’s Cake, Tangy fresh lemon & lime, Summer berry vibes, Decadent Snickers caramel, Kid-friendly banana caramel, and White chocolate kisses), this little box will allow you to experience what healthy desserts are all about!