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Gluten is a protein and comes from the same family as barley, rye, spelt and wheat. Of the gluten-containing grains, wheat is the one that is most commonly consumed. For greater than 30 years, yes, three decades, there has been a debate if there is something like intolerance to this wheat protein gluten.
There is no doubt that gluten sensitivity is receiving the public spotlight, especially with the ever-rising popularity of food that is gluten-free at a number of stores and restaurants offering the ‘g-free’ options. Given the trendiness of gluten-free diets, there is also a rise in confusion about what it means to be gluten intolerant, have a wheat allergy or be gluten sensitive. Gluten-related issues, all commonly encompass the problems one faces in ingesting food that contains gluten.
What is a gluten food allergy?
With food allergies like these, the body’s immune system goes into attack mode when gluten is consumed. This typically results in immediate symptoms such as hives, swelling and itching. For many individuals, there can be more severe symptoms. It is, therefore, important to avoid these offending foods even in the smallest amount and be aware of our health and the foods that suit our health.
A little awareness note: Even though your past exposure to gluten may have been mild, the upcoming ones can be severe.
Now, there’s a simple answer to the endless number of questions about gluten allergy or gluten intolerance and if both are the same or not.
The answer is NO.
It is not the same thing. A food allergy and intolerance to food are not the same. A food allergy such as a wheat allergy is when the immune system overreacts when you eat a particular food product. An allergy on the other hand causes shortness of breath, vomiting or itching.
So, if you are gluten intolerant, you might not be allergic to gluten and vice-a-versa.
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