First of all, let's start with that many people don't know what gluten is. It is a protein, combination of gliadin and glutenin. It works like a glue, makes dough stretchy and spongy.
Some people aren't able to eat gluten at all, because of actual medical reasons. These people are either celiac, gluten sensitive, or in some cases, allergic to wheat.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder, where one's body sees gluten as an invader and triggers an immune response. This can end up damaging the small intestine. Symptoms usually show as skin rash, bone pain, or even anaemia. If a patient with celiac disease consumed too much gluten, their body can suffer major nutritional deficiencies.
Gluten-sensitive bodies suffer similar symptoms, although are much less alarming. Symptoms might occur as cramps, diarrhea and bloating. Gluten-sensitive individuals cannot tolerate gluten and experience celiac disease-like symptoms although lack the antibodies that a celiac's body produces as an immune response.
To someone who struggles with gluten, following a gluten-free diet seems to be the only solution right now, although it is not that simple to do. The next few paragraphs concern people who want to go gluten-free because of either health or medical reasons:
A gluten-free diet does not mean healthy, natural or lower in calories; even though it can be beneficial for people who cannot consume gluten, it can cause some damage too. Cutting gluten out of your diet isn't harmful, although vitamins and whole grains, which are often combined with it, are things that your body needs.
Usually, more fats and sugars are used to make gluten-free food more enjoyable, therefore it can cause a weight gain. Gluten-free diets can lack vitamins, minerals, and fibre.
If you're thinking about going gluten-free because of your health reasons or you want to become healthier, try to focus on not consuming processed food.
Processed gluten-free food lacks wheat, rye or barley; lacks high-fibre carbohydrates. They often get replaced with lots of fat, sugar and quick-digesting starchy flours. These foods create a greater insulin response in your body, so you end up not burning as much fat as usual, and start actually storing it. You will also feel hungrier, too, because eating food with higher sugar content does that to your body.
Lastly, wheat allergy doesn't have much to do with gluten. If you have wheat allergy, it means your body's immune system responds to wheat with specific allergic responses, so it is not the same as being celiac or gluten sensitive.
Symptoms include sniffling, itching and even difficulty with breathing or/and swelling of the throat. It can also lead to celiac-like symptoms: cramps, nausea and vomiting.
Skin prick tests can help you diagnose if you're allergic to wheat or not. Testing an individual for celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can be very difficult.
The easiest way to find out if you're celiac or gluten sensitive, after getting the symptoms is to see if they go away after you try the gluten-free diet. If you notice a change, then it might be worth looking into gluten-free alternatives since there isn't any treatment at this moment in time.