What is the impact of being gluten intolerant?
If you have gluten intolerance you should avoid eating wheat and similar grains. However, if you have wheat intolerance alone, you do not necessarily need to avoid gluten.
First things first, you’ll need to cut gluten out of your diet and this may mean that some popular dishes and drinks may no longer be available to you – pasta and processed foods such as bread are usually the big offenders but also beer and ales will also have to take a backseat.
Surprisingly, not all food grains contain gluten; wild rice, corn, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa, soybeans and sunflower seeds do not and there is a huge selection of “gluten free-from” foods in most supermarkets.
Being thought a fussy eater in social situations can be another concern for gluten intolerance sufferers. Whilst there will definitely be an adjustment period you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll adapt to reaching for gluten-free rather than wheat based products. In addition, given the awareness of the increasing prevalence of gluten intolerance, many restaurants now offer gluten-free products e.g. Carluccios offers gluten-free pasta to their customers so having a gluten intolerance doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to all treats when eating out.
How do you test for gluten intolerance?
If you often feel bloated or get constipation or stomach pain after eating, you should first be examined by your doctor before cutting things out of your diet or deciding to go gluten-free.
If you get the all-clear and think certain foods could be contributing to your 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 per cent of the UK*.
However, since symptoms may not manifest until up to three days after eating problem ingredients and, on average, people react to between four and six ingredients, it is difficult to work out what is causing a reaction.
The body produces food-specific IgG antibodies as a defence against certain ingredients that may not agree with you and a reaction manifests when incompletely digested food particles enter the bloodstream and are treated as foreign substances – antibodies are formed and can generate an inflammatory response.
Many people try keeping a food diary or cutting out certain foods themselves, but it can be hard to ascertain what the culprits are; moreover, a diet suitable for one person may not help another as every individual has his or her own food triggers .
Understanding your personal food and drink intolerances or ‘food fingerprint’ can help you identify what your body is reacting to in an adverse manner. A yorktest Food&DrinkScan programme can pinpoint precisely which foods are causing elevated levels of IgG antibodies in your blood, as it tests reactions to foods and shows the degree of reaction through a ‘traffic light’ system: red for high, amber for borderline and green for no reaction at all.
It is also important to get expert nutritional advice, so you can replace your trigger foods with balanced alternatives.
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.”