Gluten Intolerance Vs. Wheat Allergy – What’s The Difference?
Published: 20th October 2023 · Written by Donna Mastriani
Sorting out what your body is doing means having an in-depth understanding of what’s happening. Two commonly confused conditions are gluten intolerance and wheat allergy. How do you know if you have gluten intolerance symptoms or an allergy to wheat? Below we’ll break down the differences for you. This will help you understand why a complete intolerance test could be what you need. It will help you have a fulfilling lifestyle featuring the right dietary staples. Let’s go!
Gluten intolerance is a digestion issue in your body. It means that your body can’t digest gluten, a type of protein found in rye, barley, and wheat. The most common gluten intolerance symptoms include nausea, bloating, diarrhoea, and a rash. Intolerance symptoms can be mild to severe, depending on how strong your intolerance is.
There is a lot of confusion between gluten intolerance and coeliac disease. This happens even though coeliac disease is an autoimmune disorder that is different. If you were to eat gluten-containing food with an intolerance, you would be uncomfortable but perfectly okay. If you were to eat it with coeliac disease, you could be causing harm to your body.
So, let’s compare what we have learned so far to a wheat allergy. This is an allergic response to a component in wheat itself rather than gluten. The body attacks the wheat and causes a variety of symptoms. An allergic reaction to wheat can happen minutes to hours after eating the wheat.
A wheat allergy is dangerous even in its mildest forms because it is an immune system response. In this way, it’s more similar to coeliac disease than gluten intolerance. That being said, you should keep the two separate since they are different.
You can see why there is so much confusion between the different conditions! They present slightly similar to that inexperienced food lover.
Understanding their key differences
With so much confusion and similarity, you should take the time to understand their key differences to know what you’re dealing with. Here are some differences to help you keep them separate in your mind for your health’s benefit.
If you are gluten intolerant, your digestive system doesn’t contain the proper enzymes to break down the gluten protein. You’ll find that eating any gluten-containing food will cause discomfort, be it bread, processed foods, etc.
If you are allergic to wheat, you will have an immune system response to wheat products. This is different because you can eat other gluten-containing foods without a problem. But even small amounts of wheat-containing foods will cause an immediate or delayed allergic reaction.
Dealing with something like coeliac disease is different from the other two. It is a personalised autoimmune disorder that would be diagnosed with an antibody test. You would treat and live with this differently than an intolerance or an allergy.
When it comes to these three conditions, the best way to find your way forward is to do an at-home complete intolerance test. This is especially a good idea with especially gluten intolerance and wheat allergy. This will help you see your intolerances in clear lab-tested detail so that you can modify your diet in the right way. If you have gluten intolerance, it will appear on this test. If you don’t, you may have a wheat allergy instead.
If you are gluten intolerant, you’ll need to make some changes to help you replace gluten. After all, gluten foods are a great source of protein, fibre, and many nutrients. Gluten intolerance is common. You will find many gluten-free foods in mainstream groceries and restaurants. The beauty is that gluten-free living is not as difficult as it once was.
If your complete intolerance test results show that you have gluten intolerance and others, you should take a more specific approach. Consider the idea of working with a dietician. They can help you create a daily food plan to help you keep your health and nutritional profile steady. This is very important while you adjust to lifestyle changes that may come as a result of this diagnosis. Specialised dieticians can help interpret test results and give you support for a healthy future.
There are key differences between a wheat allergy and gluten intolerance. This is the case even if they sometimes feel the same for someone trying to figure out what is going on. This will guide you toward the right resources and life change you need to help you enjoy food again.