In the quest for better health, glowing skin and easier weight loss, wellness experts have been discovering new ‘superfoods’ from different corners of the globe. But while they’re encouraging us to eat a whole variety of new foods, they also want us to cut out certain foods we always thought were harmless. Our grandparents probably wouldn’t think twice about eating a few slices of bread for breakfast, but today gluten is one of the most maligned foods out there. Many people firmly believe that gluten is terrible for our gut health and needs to avoided at all costs. To cater to this growing demand, there are also plenty of ‘gluten-free’ products coming out. However, even with all this talk about gluten, it remains one of the most misunderstood food products. Do you really need to cut out gluten if you want to lose weight and become healthier?
Can You Test Yourself For Gluten Sensitivity?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease where your body cannot digest gluten and begins to attack the walls of your small intestine instead. Celiac disease is extremely rare, it affects only about 1% of the population in America. However, it is possible to be sensitive to gluten even if you don’t have celiac disease. Many people who experience bloating and stomach pains after eating gluten get themselves tested for celiac disease. If the test comes back negative, they simply brush aside the possibility that gluten is the root of all their problems. However, doing this means their symptoms will never improve and they will continue to suffer with digestive issues.
To understand gluten intolerance, we need to understand a little bit about genetics. When a person has celiac disease, they usually have the genes DQ2 and DQ8. Up to 55% of Americans have at least one of these genes, making them susceptible to celiac disease. If you don’t have either of these genes, then there’s zero possibility of you developing celiac disease. However, and this is the important bit, you can still have gluten intolerance even if you don’t have either gene.
What If You Test Negative For Celiac Disease?
If you believe gluten is the root cause of all your discomfort and yet, your tests show that you don’t have celiac disease, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can safely eat gluten. Gluten intolerance most often doesn’t show up on a test, so you can’t depend upon them completely. Another important characteristic of celiac disease is that it does not develop overnight. You might experience bloating and indigestion after eating gluten for many years until you’re finally diagnosed with celiac disease. When you’re diagnosed with celiac disease, it means your antibodies have crossed such high levels that they are detected as being abnormal in the lab. The symptoms of celiac disease could have been manifesting in your body for a very long time before you test positive for it.
How Do You Tell If You’re Sensitive To Gluten?
If tests cannot conclusively tell you if you’re gluten intolerant, how do you know if you should cut out gluten? The best way to tell if you can handle gluten, is to keenly listen to your body. How do you feel after eating gluten? Do you experience no negative symptoms like bloating, indigestion and stubborn weight gain? Then you probably have no issues digesting gluten and can continue to safely eat it. However, if you feel dizzy, nauseous, can’t seem to lose weight, have stomach cramps and are constantly fatigued, you might have gluten intolerance. Cut out gluten completely from your diet for a few weeks. If your symptoms immediately disappear, then you will know that it’s time to bid adieu to gluten.