Gluten sensitivity differs from celiac disease: Role of FODMAPs

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Gluten free food

Several recent reports have focused on understanding the difference between gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. Although the two conditions have similarities, it is important to recognize they are not identical. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is sometimes ignored, and this can create a hard situation for the person suffering from the condition.

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Non-celiac gluten sensitivity refers to people experiencing many of the same symptoms as those who suffer from celiac disease, yet their medical tests for the disorder are negative. Although they may suffer from cramping, bloating and other problems, doctors do not label their condition as celiac disease. This often creates confusion because people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity can find relief by following gluten-free diets along with other recommendations usually reserved for people with the disease.

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness mentions that recent research about FODMAPs (Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols) may help people suffering from non-celiac gluten sensitivity. FODMAPs, better known as short chain carbohydrates, are difficult to digest for some people, so those who believe they have gluten sensitivity may actually be experiencing a reaction to the carbs. The foundation points out people on a restricted FODMAPs diet also avoid items such as wheat because it gives them relief.

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It is clear more research is needed on celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and FODMAPs. Dr. Wang Yu Tien, from the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Singapore General Hospital, shares that many diseases can create digestive problems. Some people who have gluten sensitivity have embraced the low FODMAPs diet and have cut out food such as honey, milk, barley, beans and avocados.

Essentially, they reduce or completely eliminate fructans, galactans, lactose and polyols. However, it is crucial to discuss any dietary changes with a medical professional before starting a new regimen and to mention concerns about gluten. The diet may not be appropriate for everyone.

Image: Fir0002/Flagstaffoto/Wikimedia Commons

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