What Is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein composite found in certain grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. It gives dough its elastic texture and helps it rise during baking. While gluten is harmless for most people, it can cause health issues for individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disorder. In this article we answer the question “what is gluten?” and discover the symptoms and diagnosis of gluten intolerance and how to live with it.

Gluten intolerance refers to a condition where the body has difficulty digesting gluten. This can lead to various uncomfortable symptoms and long-term health complications. Celiac disorder, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease triggered by gluten consumption, causing damage to the small intestine.

Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

Gluten intolerance can manifest through various symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, headaches, and skin problems. These symptoms can range from mild to severe, and they may occur shortly after consuming gluten-containing foods.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you suspect gluten intolerance or celiac disorder, it is important to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis. They may conduct blood tests, genetic tests, and perform an intestinal biopsy if necessary. Treatment usually involves adopting a gluten-free diet and may include additional measures depending on the individual’s specific condition.

Adopting a Gluten-Free Diet

Eliminating gluten from your diet is the primary approach for managing gluten intolerance and celiac disorder. This involves avoiding foods that contain wheat, barley, rye, and other gluten-containing grains. Fortunately, there are numerous gluten-free alternatives available, including grains like rice, quinoa, corn, and gluten-free oats.

Tips for Managing Gluten Intolerance

Living with gluten intolerance requires careful attention to food choices and everyday activities. Here are some helpful suggestions:

  • Gluten-Free Food Alternatives: Explore the wide range of gluten-free food alternatives, including bread, pasta, cereals, and snacks. Look for certified gluten-free labels to ensure product safety.
  • Dining Out and Traveling with Gluten Intolerance: When dining out, communicate your dietary needs to restaurant staff and inquire about gluten-free options. When traveling, plan ahead by researching gluten-free restaurants and packing gluten-free snacks.
  • Gluten-Free Cooking and Recipes: Embrace gluten-free cooking by experimenting with new recipes and adapting your favorite dishes using gluten-free ingredients. There are plenty of online resources and cookbooks available for inspiration.

Living a Healthy Gluten-Free Lifestyle

Beyond eliminating gluten from your diet, it is essential to maintain a balanced and nutritious eating plan. Here are additional suggestions for living a healthy gluten-free lifestyle:

  • Maintaining a Balanced Diet: Focus on consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, dairy or dairy alternatives, and gluten-free whole grains. This ensures you receive essential nutrients and maintain a balanced diet.
  • Ensuring Nutritional Adequacy: Pay attention to nutrients that might be lacking in a gluten-free diet, such as fiber, iron, calcium, and B vitamins. Consult a dietitian if necessary to address any nutritional deficiencies.
  • Seeking Support and Resources: Join support groups or online communities to connect with others facing similar challenges. They can provide valuable advice, recipe ideas, and emotional support throughout your gluten-free journey.


Living with gluten intolerance or celiac disorder requires careful management and dietary adjustments. By adopting a gluten-free lifestyle, seeking professional guidance, and making informed choices, individuals can effectively manage their condition and improve their overall well-being.


Can gluten intolerance develop at any age?
Yes, gluten intolerance can develop at any age, from childhood to adulthood.

Are oats gluten-free?
Regular oats are often cross-contaminated with gluten during processing. However, gluten-free oats are available and suitable for individuals with gluten intolerance.

Can I consume alcoholic beverages if I have gluten intolerance?
Some alcoholic beverages, such as beer, contain gluten. However, there are gluten-free beer options, as well as gluten-free alternatives like wine and spirits.

Is a gluten-free diet healthier for everyone?
A gluten-free diet is necessary for individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disorder. However, for those without these conditions, a gluten-free diet is not inherently healthier and may lack certain nutrients.

Is gluten intolerance the same as a wheat allergy?
No, gluten intolerance and wheat allergy are different conditions. Gluten intolerance refers to difficulty digesting gluten, while wheat allergy is an immune response to proteins found in wheat.

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Cat Hocking

When I discovered that I was gluten intolerant and likely Coaeliac it was a shock and certainly a struggle to find things that I could eat. After a lot of research I amassed lots of resources and strategies that I share with you now in The Gluten Free Resource Hub. You can have a nutritious and enjoyable diet even if you can't tolerate gluten.

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