1

votes

Gluten intolerence vs celiac

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 17, 2012 at 8:22 AM

I would have to say the main thing that got me to try paleo was suspected celiac.

(have never gone to the doctors for a legit diagnosis. The whole concept of potential permanent damage from gluten if I do have it and the testing process that requires you to consume gluten for a good amount of time makes me nervous! But I WILL visit a doctor when I am able for medical advice. This post is more for my own interest)

I have always felt kind of yucky after consuming whole wheat products (you know the ones that are supposed to be healthy!). I went through a period of time that lasted several months in which every time I ate bread (I only bought the super healthy organic kind) I would get the worst intestinal issues. I would have issues to the point where I couldn't eat anything without immediately getting rid of it if I had eaten bread recently. Also the stool was very dark like it had blood in it. A burning feeling and my skin would flush red and ruddy (like it does with milk -whey allergy). After a few months of this I was absolutely desperate to figure out what was wrong. Not being able to process your food SUCKS.

It wasn't an immediate connection between bread and *issues. More like "I am eating the stuff I have always had why can I all of a sudden not process it???"I had NO idea what was going on. I thought it was the carbs maybe (I didnt know what celiac was at the time). I was terrified that I was about to get diabetes (blush). So I joined bf on the paleo diet he has been on for years. I immediately felt relief. I went very strict paleo at first and reaped the benefits.

So recently I cheated. I fell back into old habits and ate bread. I got a free loaf of super high quality sourdough (omg my fav) and I couldn't let it go to waste after all.. right.. *sighs - so I as dumb and I ate it. I had a return of the obnoxious issues that made it impossible to eat anything and keep it "in". I had been lulled into complacency with the several non reactions I had had to eating other gluten containing stuff. I have been going through the process of quitting smoking. I dont consider it a real quit until 6 months has gone by without a smoke- hence the term process. I have been a bit off and eaten a lot of crap that I normally wouldnt have. No excuses- just giving all the relevant info.

Ok so anecdotal evidence suggests that I may have celiac. But I have consumed things with gluten that were not bread and did not have any issues with? For example pasta, and soy milk contain gluten and had no reaction. Dominos pizza gives me bloody.. uh.. issues. However their bread sticks do not????

So maybe I am just gluten intolerant not a celiac? Is there something else in bread that is bad? Maybe my original though of carbs being the culprit was correct?

The reason I am discussing this here vs a celiac forum etc is I think it is relevant to the whole idea of paleo. Is it possible to have "issues" with something that we have no real allergy to because it is wrong to eat? I am interested in how you view this and your thoughts on this. I am leaving it very open ended - I just want to hear what you have to say!

76d70438d2442d21206b8e5528d23d23

(1098)

on March 20, 2012
at 12:42 PM

My bad, then. And I understand about nostalgia foods; those can be tough to avoid!

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on March 19, 2012
at 11:44 AM

I'm thinking probably not necessarily for the individual, but more diagnoses will lead to more awareness, and that could lead to having an easier time at restaurants! ;)

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 18, 2012
at 05:23 AM

If a person is celiac, that's probably a no. Within the past 5 years, when I was still eating SAD, I had a normal colonoscopy (color photo and all) so I'm assuming I was gluten sensitive. I think my gut is quite healed but I don't intend to abuse it.

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on March 18, 2012
at 12:36 AM

*the soy milk I am talking about is a specific brand. I grew up on it (milk allergy) and it is the only one I would drink. Eden soy is different than the rest- I cant stand the taste/texture of other brands!! Eden soy contains "naturally malted organic wheat and barley extracts". I can live perfectly happily sans soy in general but seeing my childhood brand in a store really brought me back!!

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on March 18, 2012
at 12:34 AM

I do wonder if there are any benefits from being on the books as celiac!

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on March 18, 2012
at 12:34 AM

I do believe in the spirit of paleo- no grains. I am aiming to return to this but I do think it would be worth it to test this out. A few months 100% clean and try eating something with gluten just to see what happens. (not bread though)

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on March 18, 2012
at 12:32 AM

Does a gut in good health have the ability to prevent permanent damage from gluten? I just wish I knew if the no symptoms meant no harm or just silent killer.

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5 Answers

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5
76d70438d2442d21206b8e5528d23d23

on March 17, 2012
at 01:20 PM

Hi! interesting ideas here. It seems to me that you've asked more than one question, though, or maybe a multi-part question. I'm going to address as many parts as I can.

1. Celiac vs. gluten sensitivity/intolerance

A study which came out last year showed that:

  • these are indeed two different clinical conditions,
  • both are real--gluten intolerance isn't just a figment of people's imaginations,
  • both have similar--but not identical--symptoms, and
  • there's a genetic component in both cases, but different genes are involved in celiac than in gluten sensitivity/intolerance.

So if we debate whether it's possible for you to have a gluten intolerance that isn't celiac, what we need to do is debate whether that study was flawed. Since most of us probably secretly hope it's not, it might not be much of a debate. (See the original PaleoHacks post about that study (which includes a link to a great WSJ article), and I think you'll see what I mean! ;) )

2. Could it be the carbs?

Anything's possible, but it's not very likely. Carb problems usually show up as blood sugar or weight problems, not the issues you describe. My money's on gluten or dairy. (But I am not a doctor, etc, etc, etc!)

3. Is it possible for the body to have issues with foods that it's wrong to eat?

At first I was going to object to the use of the word "wrong" here, because it seemed to take things out of the realm of science & into morality & ethics. Then I decided that that's not necessarily true, and that the question's more interesting this way.

I have a friend who gave up pork. After some years, she said, her body stopped making some special enzyme that one needs in order to digest pork. So eating it now makes her ill.

I know another lady who is vegetarian, and has been for decades. She gets ill whenever there's hidden meat in a dish.

These are both examples of people doing things for health reasons, but that others would do for moral reasons--and in each case, the body has responded by "learning" to be ill at the supposedly unhealthy/immoral foods.

In each case, though, it took years--decades, even. And you were having problems before you went paleo.

Finally, a note: I just want to point out that soy milk won't contain gluten unless it was processed in a factory that also processes gluten-containing grains. Some sources mistakenly call the vegetable proteins in soy "gluten," but they are not. (Soy may be bad news for other reasons, but not because of gluten--unless it's been cross-contaminated.)

I hope some of this helps, or at least proves interesting. You might want to research some non-grain bread recipes (and some paleo pizza recipes) to help curb those cheats! (Try Chowstalker, for starters....)

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on March 18, 2012
at 12:36 AM

*the soy milk I am talking about is a specific brand. I grew up on it (milk allergy) and it is the only one I would drink. Eden soy is different than the rest- I cant stand the taste/texture of other brands!! Eden soy contains "naturally malted organic wheat and barley extracts". I can live perfectly happily sans soy in general but seeing my childhood brand in a store really brought me back!!

76d70438d2442d21206b8e5528d23d23

(1098)

on March 20, 2012
at 12:42 PM

My bad, then. And I understand about nostalgia foods; those can be tough to avoid!

3
24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on March 17, 2012
at 01:28 PM

You may be gluten intolerant; I have symptoms of celiac but had a negative endoscopy. If you suspect you have it, you can either go back to eating gluten and get tested- that way you will know for sure AND help improve the quality of celiac statistics, or you've got to eliminate it 100% to avoid damaging your intestines. As for me, I don't always have a reaction when I cheat; I'm not sure why. Sometimes digestive enzymes help me avoid symptoms too, but I wouldn't risk it if I had celiac. A lot folks on here will disagree, but I would get tested.

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on March 19, 2012
at 11:44 AM

I'm thinking probably not necessarily for the individual, but more diagnoses will lead to more awareness, and that could lead to having an easier time at restaurants! ;)

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on March 18, 2012
at 12:34 AM

I do wonder if there are any benefits from being on the books as celiac!

2
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 17, 2012
at 05:19 PM

I had violent symptoms of intolerance the first few times I cheated with wheat. Recently, as I approach the one-year mark of eating whole foods, I had wheat twice (2 weeks apart) with no symptoms.

My conclusions:

  • I was gluten sensitive but was probably never celiac; like you, I'm not willing to get sick again to get tested and find out.
  • The lack of symptoms from my 2 experiments doesn't mean I'm no longer gluten sensitive but it does probably mean my gut is now in good overall health.

My general plan is to avoid wheat permanently but I am unlikely to be perfect so I will continue to eat healthy on a day-to-day basis to minimize any reactions.

For the record, I give credit to water kefir for the healing of my gut. No apparent healing occurred until I started drinking it and I was very thirsty for it during the months that obvious healing occurred.

The first sign of gut healing was that yogurt tasted good vs. spoiled and no longer made me sick. Since early childhood all milk and dairy had tasted awful to me but now cream and yogurt are delicious although I haven't tried milk.

I also noticed that my gut became more and more pain free and much less gassy over about 4 months. At one point I was drinking 4 or more cups of the water kefir per day, but these days I typically have 2 cups every other day and eat home-made yogurt regularly as well.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 18, 2012
at 05:23 AM

If a person is celiac, that's probably a no. Within the past 5 years, when I was still eating SAD, I had a normal colonoscopy (color photo and all) so I'm assuming I was gluten sensitive. I think my gut is quite healed but I don't intend to abuse it.

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on March 18, 2012
at 12:32 AM

Does a gut in good health have the ability to prevent permanent damage from gluten? I just wish I knew if the no symptoms meant no harm or just silent killer.

2
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on March 17, 2012
at 03:05 PM

Pizza dough usually has added gluten, so it makes sense that the response could be different than eating whole wheat or semolina products. I would suggest eliminating all of it entirely for a couple of months and then bring in just a few things to see how you react. Personally, I don't have the symptoms of celiac and have never been testing, but I do have a pretty strong reaction to gluten. For me, having a little here and there all week is not a good idea, but I might have it once or twice a week, and then a recovery time.

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on March 18, 2012
at 12:34 AM

I do believe in the spirit of paleo- no grains. I am aiming to return to this but I do think it would be worth it to test this out. A few months 100% clean and try eating something with gluten just to see what happens. (not bread though)

0
050c3f054335897c91942c67ec8c2b49

on March 24, 2012
at 01:28 AM

Please support my petition for the Girl Scouts to sell a gluten free and allergen free cookie. http://www.change.org/petitions/encourage-the-girl-scouts-to-sell-an-allergen-free-cookie

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