Should you be gluten-free or wheat-free? Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Avoidance is essential for people with celiac disease, a condition that triggers an immune response damaging the lining of the small intestine. There may also be some people who experience the symptoms (bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea) of celiac now referred to as non-celiac wheat sensitivity without having the actual diagnosis of celiac disease.
Proponents think a gluten-free diet will improve everyone’s health, skeptics consider gluten-free just another trend. Be sure to talk to your doctor – please do not self-diagnose. Restrictive diets can lead to nutrient deficiencies. If your doctor has suggested you try a wheat-free diet to see if symptoms subside, be sure to check ingredient labels of processed foods for the presence of wheat. For example, the presence of wheat flour is found in many products like breaded products or even cream soups.
It has been debated as to whether non-celiac wheat sensitivity (NCWS) actually exists. This study sheds some light on the topic.