Gluten Guidelines - Part 2
Last month, Bowflex® Dietitian Erin Kuh framed the general conversation about gluten and why some people are affected by it. This month, she wraps up the discussion and provides an at-home test that you can do to see if you are truly gluten sensitive.
Continued from Part 1 - Are You Better Off Without Wheat
Gluten Intolerance/Sensitivity Testing
While celiac disease is usually a straightforward diagnosis, non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a large gray area in the medicine world. It's symptomatically very similar to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and lactose intolerance. Although more research needs to be done in this relatively new area of health and nutrition, it's estimated that 18 million Americans have some level of gluten sensitivity. If you're thinking about getting tested for gluten sensitivity, it's extremely important to continue to eat gluten before you are tested. Tests may show a negative result if you've been previously excluding gluten from your diet. Blood tests and small biopsies commonly show negative results for celiac disease, but this doesn't mean you aren't gluten sensitive. The three main types of tests are:
- Small Bowel Biopsy
- Blood tests, including Total IgA, IgA-t TG, and IgA-EMA
- Genetic tests
How to Test Gluten Sensitivity on Your Own
- Eliminate ALL wheat and gluten-containing food products from your diet for 6-8 weeks. Besides the more obvious foods such as bread, pasta, and baked goods, gluten is hidden in many other foods such as soy sauce, yogurt, and almost all packaged and processed foods. For a more comprehensive list, visit celiac.org.
- Track your bowl movements, energy levels, weight, and sleep.
- Do NOT change anything else about your diet or lifestyle during this time frame. Don't start or stop medications or supplements, drastically change your exercise routine, or embark on any major life changing events, including getting married, having a child, moving, starting a new job, etc. If you make other major changes, you won't be able to accurately conclude whether or not gluten or something else is the cause of feeling better (or not).
- Test your reaction to gluten by re-introducing gluten at one meal. Wait 24 hours to see if you have any sort of reactions: difference in bowel movements, sleep, skin, feeling like your mind is "foggy."
If you determine you're gluten-sensitive limit or avoid gluten or try organic wheat products. If you're not gluten-sensitive, focus on high quality whole grain breads and minimally processed wheat like wheat berries, wheat germ, bulgur, barley, spelt, and couscous.