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gluten intolerance in bread

Gluten Intolerance

A gluten intolerance is an adverse reaction to eating foods containing the protein – such as products of wheat, rye, barley and triticale. Some of the most common gluten intolerance symptoms include bloating and constipation – however, the problems are not life-threatening. It’s important to note that a gluten intolerance is not the same thing as a gluten allergy or coeliac disease. For more information on the difference between a food allergy and an intolerance see here.

Gluten is actually one of the most common trigger foods for intolerances and sensitivities. In recent years there’s been a rise in awareness of the condition, with 1 in 10 Brits avoiding gluten. And with so many food staples containing gluten, navigating a food intolerance can be hard. Read more to find out what gluten intolerance is and what to do to limit symptoms.

What is gluten intolerance?

An intolerance to gluten is a digestive condition that can have symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and indigestion. Unlike coeliac disease, a gluten intolerance is not a lifelong autoimmune condition that causes the body’s immune system to attack the small intestine when you consume gluten. However, coeliac disease and a gluten intolerance can display the same symptoms.

Removing foods that contain gluten from a diet is essential for people with coeliac disease (which is estimated to affect 1% of the population) as it can lead to other debilitating problems if left undiagnosed. The digestive condition of gluten intolerance, on the other hand, can be pinpointed and overcome through tests and dietary adjustments.

But, what is gluten, really? Gluten is a protein found in several types of grains – including wheat, spelt, rye and barley (and therefore most cereals and breads). It is composed of the elements gliadin and gluten and is basically the elastic, rubbery protein in grains that binds the dough in bread and other baked goods and gives it a spongy consistency.

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Easy to use home-to-laboratory test kit

Take our most comprehensive food and drink intolerance* test to find out whether you have an intolerance to 200 food and drink ingredients. Simply take a finger-prick blood sample and return by post for testing. Receive your results within 7 days! No social interaction required.

Optimise your lifestyle with our support, knowing which foods you’re reacting to.

  • Discuss your results with a nutritional therapist. One 30-minute consultation included
  • Measures all four subtypes of food-specific IgG
  • Simple finger-prick blood test
  • Receive expert, accurate analysis from our fully-accredited laboratory technicians
  • Results listed in easy-to-read traffic light values: high, borderline, and normal reactivity
  • Track your progress with a food and drinks diary
  • This test is not available to customers who are pregnant or breastfeeding

Gluten Intolerance Symptoms Checklist


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Abdominal pain

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Brain fog

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Weight gain

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Skin problems
Muscle pain

Is There A Gluten Intolerance Test?

After experiencing the common symptoms of gluten intolerance, many people try keeping a food diary or cutting out certain foods themselves, but it can be hard to ascertain for sure what the culprits are. Moreover, a diet suitable for one person may not help another, as every individual has their own food triggers. It’s important to first be examined by your doctor before cutting things out or embarking on a gluten-free diet.

If you do get the medical all-clear and continue experiencing symptoms, it is worth considering a food intolerance test. Food intolerance is characterised as a delayed onset food reaction and is estimated to affect 45% of the UK population.

Understanding your personal food and drink intolerances, or ‘food fingerprint’, can help you identify what your body is reacting to. A YorkTest Premium Food Intolerance Test is a blood test that can pinpoint  which foods are causing elevated levels of IgG antibodies in your body, as it tests reactions to more than 200 ingredients and shows your degree of reaction through a ‘traffic light’ system.

It is also important to get expert nutritional advice, so you can replace your trigger foods with balanced alternatives and maintain a healthy diet.

Dr Gill Hart, Scientific Director at YorkTest, says:

“A lot of people now are self-diagnosing, the fad being gluten-free and dairy-free. People are doing that without any support and sometimes without replacing eliminated foods with something equally nutritious.

“They are doing that on their own and starting an elimination diet with no knowledge at all. What YorkTest provides is a starting point for an elimination diet, with results that reflect the body’s needs. The IgG antibodies are there in your blood, we measure them accurately and let you know about the foods your body is fighting.

“We encourage anyone who experiences negative symptoms after eating and drinking that they think may be attributable to food or drink ingredients to find out what’s personally holding them back from being the healthiest they can be. We’ve learnt from our customers’ feedback that diet personalisation not only holds the key to good health, but to losing weight, too.”

Is gluten intolerance that common?

There is a rise in awareness of the prevalence of gluten intolerances, and the growth in ‘free-from’ food products shows how common sensitivities are. A quick search for ‘gluten intolerance’ in a search engine will bring up loads of advice, articles and bloggers detailing their experiences so you won’t have to feel alone. You’ll find plenty more nutritional recipes here too.

What is a gluten-free diet?

Gluten-free diets have surged in popularity in recent years. Supermarkets devote whole aisles to products, and restaurants have entirely gluten-free options on the menu to cater for customers’ dietary requirements.

Gluten-free is one of the biggest revolutions in the food industry since vegetarianism. From vodka to popcorn, there doesn’t seem to be a food that isn’t available ‘free-from’ if you want it.

Following a gluten-free diet consists of cutting out all foods that might contain gluten – such as wheat, rye or barley – which could appear as wholegrains or thickening agents in processed foods. Couscous, bulgur, spelt and matzo are also commonly removed.

gluten intolerance food

Gluten Intolerance: Foods To Avoid

Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and any products made with these grains. It can be difficult to cut out wheat products as gluten proteins can also be found in processed foods, sauces and even meat products which use those grains as thickening agents. It is important to thoroughly check labels for ingredients. Here’s a list of ingredients to eliminate if you suffer from a gluten intolerance:

  • Wheat (starch, bran and germ)
  • Couscous
  • Cracked and durum wheat
  • Emmer
  • Farina
  • Faro
  • Gliadin
  • Kamut
  • Matzo
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Bulgur
  • Barley
  • Rye
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Which Foods Are Good For A Gluten-Free Diet?

To ensure you maintain a balanced diet which provides the carbohydrates, fibre and vitamins you need, you can supplement your meals with a variety of other grains such as:

  • Rice
  • Corn (maize)
  • Buckwheat
  • Millet

In baking, to replace ingredients containing gluten, you can use the following substitutes:

  • Agar-agar – thickening and binding agent made from seaweed
  • Guar gum – a thickener made from the seeds of the guar plant
  • Carob flour – a thickener made from the ground kernels of the carob fruit
  • Potato flour – a starchy thickener used in sauces, soups and dumplings

What Is The Impact Of Being Gluten Intolerant?

Remember that a gluten intolerance or any food intolerance isn’t necessarily  a lifelong problem. With a carefully conducted elimination diet and advice from nutritionists and your GP, you may be able to reset your gut and slowly introduce gluten back into your life. For others a reduced or no gluten may be required for longer.

For some gluten intolerance sufferers, being thought of as a fussy eater in social situations can also be a concern in addition to dealing with the common symptoms. Whilst there will definitely be an adjustment period, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll adapt to reaching for foods not containing gluten rather than wheat-based products on your weekly shop.

Moreover, given the ever-increasing awareness of gluten intolerance, many restaurants now offer gluten-free products. For example, Carluccio’s and many other restaurants offer free-from pasta on their menus, so having to exclude gluten doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to all treats when eating out.

Check out our Premium Food Intolerance Test today and start your journey back to help towards a happier gut.

4 Simple Steps To A Better You

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Take a blood sample with our easy to use finger-prick test kit

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Send your sample back in the prepaid envelope provided

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Other Intolerances