gluten intolerance in bread

Gluten Sensitivity

Research suggests that 18 million Americans may have a non-celiac gluten sensitivity (which YorkTest defines as a food-specific IgG reaction) in which your body produces an inflammatory response to gluten proteins. And since 2013, the FDA has set specific criteria for food labeling of gluten-free products as awareness of gluten sensitivity and celiac disease rises.

But have you been tested for celiac disease to find no result and no respite from your discomfort? Symptoms like IBS, abdominal pain, or even brain fog and fatigue could be signs of a gluten sensitivity or even just a wheat sensitivity. Find out more below on what makes a gluten sensitivity different.

What is gluten sensitivity?

Gluten intolerance or sensitivity is an immune response to the presence of gluten, a protein found in wheat and related grains, giving elasticity to dough, helping it to rise and keep its shape. It can also be hidden in other processed foods and sauces when used as a thickening agent. The reaction can occur any time up to 72 hours after eating foods with gluten which can make it difficult to pinpoint what the exact cause of your sensitivity is.

Those who suffer from a gluten sensitivity will also be wheat sensitive. However, those who are wheat sensitive aren’t always sensitive to gluten. They may be able to eat other grains like barley and rye, while people with gluten sensitivity may not. Again this makes it difficult to know which foods and ingredients to avoid when embarking on an elimination diet.

Gluten sensitivities are also different from a gluten allergy. With a food allergy, individuals can experience a more immediate reaction to the presence of gluten–in some cases life threatening. A gluten allergy is also a lifelong condition in which the body’s immune system releases IgE antibodies in response to the gluten protein.

What is the difference between gluten sensitivity and celiac disease?

Similar to a food allergy, celiac disease is a lifelong condition. It is currently estimated that 1 in 133 Americans have celiac disease and they may show similar digestive symptoms to those with a gluten sensitivity, which makes it hard for those with a sensitivity to know the difference. Basically, celiac disease in an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the small intestine when you eat or consume gluten. Over time, it can cause intestinal damage, preventing the body from absorbing other important nutrients and ultimately can cause weight loss and many other related problems.

While both allergy and celiac disease require a life-time strict gluten-free diet to protect your health and find relief from digestive discomfort, if you have non-celiac gluten sensitivity you may be able to reintroduce gluten into your diet after a rest from it. Unlike celiac disease, you may see symptoms improve after eliminating and slowly reintroducing wheat and other gluten products  after some time. If you feel that you may indeed have celiac disease, however, it’s very important to seek medical advice from a healthcare professional to discuss your concerns, as undiagnosed celiac disease causes severe long-term issues.

How to Test for Gluten Sensitivity

Identifying gluten sensitivity can be a complex process due to the wide range of symptoms and the overlap with other conditions, such as celiac disease and wheat sensitivity.

The first step in determining gluten sensitivity is self-observation. Noting symptoms after consuming gluten can be a potential indicator. As previously mentioned, typical symptoms might include headaches, fatigue, bloating, abdominal pain, weight gain and diarrhea.

You can then try the ‘elimination diet’, which involves removing gluten from your diet for a certain period, then reintroducing it and observing the symptoms. If symptoms minimize during the elimination period, it’s an indication that gluten might be the issue.

However, it’s important to note that while the elimination method can be effective, it may not be conclusive, as other conditions could also produce similar symptoms. That’s why food sensitivity testing is required to ensure a proper diagnosis and rule out other potential causes.

Can a Blood Test Detect Gluten Sensitivity?

At YorkTest, our food sensitivity tests analyze your IgG antibodies 1-4 through a simple finger prick blood sample, one of the most accurate methods of testing. The blood test can identify over 200 ingredients to which you may be sensitive and ranks their severity in an easy-to-read traffic light system to help you eliminate the right foods.

It’s important to note that our tests do not diagnose celiac disease or detect allergic (IgE) reactions to gluten. So, if you feel that you may have a gluten allergy, please consult your doctor or medical professional.

Understanding your body’s response to food is crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. By considering both self-observation and sensitivity testing, you can gain a thorough understanding of your dietary needs. Keep in mind that regardless of the test results, always consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet. You can consult with one of our nutritional therapists for one-on-one support.

If you suspect that your symptoms could be a non-celiac gluten sensitivity, we recommend taking a food sensitivity test from YorkTest to determine whether gluten is truly affecting your gut or whether other ingredients like wheat are the issue.

Symptoms of gluten sensitivity

Gluten sensitivity can appear through more traditional gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating or abdominal pains, or it can appear as a skin condition or fatigue. And since reactions can be delayed unlike other gluten related disorders, it can make it even harder to understand your symptoms. Here are some of the common symptoms that can appear after eating gluten:



Foggy mind

Excessive Gas
Abdominal Pain

Weight gain


Skin rash
Muscle pain


Premium Food Sensitivity Test


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The Premium Food Sensitivity Test measures your IgG reactivity to 200 foods and drinks. Get answers on which foods could be triggering your IBS symptoms, headaches, bloating, tiredness, and more.  Simply collect your finger-prick blood sample at home. Mail it to our laboratory for testing. Then receive your results online within 7 days!

  • 200 ingredients tested
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  • Clear, color-coded results show your IgG reactivity score for each ingredient

Customers must be aged 18 years or over to take this test. For under 18s, take our
Junior Food Sensitivity Test. This test is not available to customers who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Foods To Avoid With Gluten Intolerance

Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and any foods made with these grains. It can be difficult to identify all the foods you need to avoid as these grains are often used as thickening agents in processed foods, sauces and even meat products. Make sure to check food labels for the following ingredients when going on a gluten free diet:

  • Wheat (starch, bran and germ)
  • Couscous
  • Cracked and durum wheat
  • Emmer
  • Farina
  • Faro
  • Gliadin
  • Kamut
  • Matzo
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Bulgur
  • Barley
  • Rye
gluten-free office snack ideas

Easy Alternatives For A Gluten-Free Diet

Following a gluten-free diet doesn’t just mean avoiding gluten. You need to strike the right balance to ensure your body is still getting the nutrients it needs.

We recommend using your food sensitivity test results and working with a doctor or nutritionist to design an elimination diet based on your specific sensitivities and to ensure you maintain a balanced diet which provides the carbohydrates, fiber and vitamins you need.

Here are some food swaps you can incorporate into gluten-free diets:

  • Rice
  • Corn (maize)
  • Buckwheat
  • Millet

And you can still indulge your sweet tooth as well. 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 thickening made from the seeds of the guar plant
• Carob flour – a thickener made from the ground kernals of the carob fruit
• Potato flour – a starchy thickener used in sauces, soups and dumplings


Remember that a gluten sensitivity or any food sensitivity isn’t  necessarily a lifelong diagnosis like celiac disease. Taking extra care to avoid gluten will take time and getting used to, but your gut will thank you for it. Changing your diet need not be daunting, especially when there are so many options to still enjoy your favorite dishes and events without much hassle. YorkTest Nutritional Therapists are also here to help you understand how to optimize your food choices. So make sure to check out our Food Sensitivity Test and begin your food journey back to a happier gut.

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