Gluten intolerance, or celiac disease, affects about 1% of the French population. Bloating, following the ingestion of gluten is a classic symptom, but how do we know if it’s gluten that’s causing this discomfort and not some other component from a processed food?
What is gluten intolerance?
Celiac disease is not really an intolerance but an autoimmune disease: on contact with gluten, the villi in our intestines are damaged (they atrophy). The damaged intestinal mucosa leads to malabsorption which itself can have a number of health consequences. In the short term, it leads to diarrhoea, bloating, severe fatigue and weight loss.
However overtime, malabsorption, following repeated ingestion of gluten, will lead to deficiencies including iron, calcium and vitamin D which can eventually lead to osteoporosis. A blood test will pick up on this malabsorption.
A lifetime elimination of gluten from our diet is the only real “treatment” for intolerance. As long as the person concerned does not consume gluten-based cereals (rye, oats, wheat, barley, triticale, spelt), it allows symptoms to be completely eliminated.
However, a gluten-free diet is very restrictive and should not be taken lightly and should always be supervised by health professionals.
What is gluten hypersensitivity?
Most people are not gluten intolerant but rather hypersensitive to gluten. These people often suffer from digestive disorders like diarrhoea and constipation, bloating and abdominal pain. However, there is no intestinal inflammation as in the case of intolerance. Hypersensitivity is not an autoimmune disease so there is, therefore, no villous atrophy. Nutritional monitoring is strongly recommended if you think this is your case, because a gluten-free diet can improve your digestive comfort, but it can also cause an dietary imbalance as the gluten will need to be replaced with cereals and any other product containing gluten. In our gluten-free program, you have access to all sorts of recipes adapted to your diet. In addition, you will be supervised by a dietician-nutritionist who will advise you on which products to choose and, after each appointment, will send you your gluten-free menus for the week. In this way, you will no longer have to think about the foods to avoid and what recipes to make, but instead, just follow the shopping list !
Maybe it’s not gluten?
Sometimes, digestive discomfort does not come directly from gluten. In fact, most of the time, this vegetable protein is found in processed products which also contain additives! Moreover, additives can have harmful consequences on our health, especially in children where it can cause activity disorders.
To reduce this discomfort, we suggest substituting these foods with organic products. You can also vary your diet, as well as your brands, and reduce the consumption of ultra-processed products. To help you in your approach, our dieticians-nutritionists are always present and able to offer you personalised monitoring for a gluten-free diet applicable over time.
If you suspect celiac disease, it is imperative you see your doctor who will order tests confirming or refuting this hypothesis, by testing for specific antibodies.