Gluten Intolerance? Celiac? Or Gluten-Free for Weight Loss?

Jennifer Trepeck
4 min readJun 20, 2022

A Bite-Size Read for Your Health and Your Waistline

three round loaves of bread with three sprigs of wheat
Photo by Wesual Click on Unsplash

It’s why French bread holds together. Why pasta has that perfect texture. Why New York bagels are so delicious. Gluten is the glue that holds together these baked goods, along with pasta and the foods we love so much. For some, these favorite foods cause bloating, gas, or abdominal pain. For others, they’re buying the gluten-free alternatives assuming they’re healthier and may help them lose weight. This is often a mistake.

Let’s start with understanding gluten sensitivity. Gluten is the protein found in some grains — wheat, barley, and rye are the big ones. The word gluten comes from the Latin word for glue. It acts as a glue that helps to maintain the shape of, and gives that chewy texture to, these foods. Those who react poorly to gluten range on a spectrum from gluten sensitivity to celiac disease. There are in fact two spectrums to consider: the severity of the symptoms and the amount of gluten needed to create a reaction. For some, it may only take as little as an amount the size of the small white part of your fingernail!

When a person experiences reactions like bloating, gas, and abdominal pain, their body is having a hard time or is unable to break down the gluten. As the body attempts to digest the proteins with tremendous difficulty, extra gasses are released. The reaction in the gut can also lead to hives or slight irritation and/or diarrhea, constipation, nausea, headache, brain fog, joint pain, numbness in the legs, arms or fingers, fatigue, or depression. It’s possible for reactions to surface up to 72 hours after consumption which makes it challenging to track. If celiac goes undiagnosed it can lead to reproductive issues, anemia, osteoporosis and malnutrition.

Now, how do we test whether we have celiac or an intolerance to gluten? Celiac is an extreme end of the gluten reaction spectrum, and it is important that we do not use it interchangeably with gluten intolerance. Celiac will trigger a reaction every time gluten is consumed and falls into the category of autoimmune conditions. Intolerances are likely only triggered if enough is consumed. Generally, for intolerances, there are no specific tests to diagnose; even food sensitivities tests aren’t 100% on this one. Celiac can be…

Jennifer Trepeck

Health Coach, Business Consultant, Host of Salad with a Side of Fries Podcast. IG/FB/Twitter:@JennTrepeck