Difference between Gluten Intolerance and Celiac Disease – A Basic Analysis for a Gluten Free Lifestyle

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  • Author James Novotny
  • Published May 29, 2010
  • Word count 398

If you have to live a gluten free lifestyle, there are two main determiners for that. You may be gluten intolerant, or you may have Celiac Disease. Many people assume that these terms are interchangeable, but they are far from it. Gluten intolerance is a broad term, and it covers a lot of people who are sensitive to a wide range of gluten. Celiac Disease, on the other hand, only affects a few people, and the results of gluten ingestion under this disease are much worse than with gluten intolerance. Here we will examine the differences between the two so they don’t seem as interchangeable anymore.

Gluten intolerant people are simply allergic to gluten. While their bodies may not react well to gluten, the results might be the equivalent of someone with a pollen allergy walking in a field of flowers or someone with lactose intolerance drinking a glass of milk. There will be discomfort, but nothing that may be life threatening. If you were diagnosed with Celiac Disease, any intake of gluten would actually be poisoning your body because this goes beyond a mere allergy. The differences are night and day.

Gluten sensitivity cannot be determined by a blood test, but Celiac Disease can. There are a handful of people that will test positive for one of these disorders when they really have the other, but the results are usually well defined. About 15 of the population has Celiac Disease. Because of this, most people just call everyone gluten intolerant, despite the differences in the two terms. Celiacs are far more at risk of bowel cancer when compared to gluten sensitive people, and thus they must be more aware of their diet.

Speaking of diet, the only way to prevent a Celiac disruption is to lead a completely gluten free life. This may be hard to do in a world of fast food, but it’s something that must be done regardless. Gluten intolerant people should also lead a gluten free life for maximum comfort, but they don’t have to. The Celiacs are the main ones that have to worry. As this issue continues to spread, there are a lot more foods coming out that work with a gluten-free lifestyle. Restaurants and food packagers are trying to remain aware of the need for gluten-free products. This makes the adjustment a whole lot easier to go through.

Copyright 2010 by James M Novotny, Software Engineer and part-time author. James suffers from Gluten Intolerance and blogs at www.mynonglutenlife.com.

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