Celiac Disease vs. Gluten Allergy or Wheat Allergy – What’s The Difference? | Allergy

Celiac Disease vs. Gluten Allergy or Wheat Allergy – What’s The Difference?

by Allergy Guy

Celiac disease and a gluten allergy are closely related in that both are sensitivities to gluten.  A wheat allergy is less related but similar.  There are many important differences in the effects of gluten.

It is important to understand the similarities and differences so that you can take care of your health properly.

In this article, we will take a look at the similarities and differences between celiac disease, a gluten allergy and a wheat allergy.

The main thing that celiac disease and a gluten allergy have in common is that if you have either one, you must follow a gluten free diet.

The main differences are severity and effects of eating gluten.

A wheat allergy is  a bit more removed.  As with a gluten allergy, the severity and effects are different from celiac disease.  Although a gluten free diet guarantees a wheat-free diet, you do not need to be so strict, and have more food options.

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is triggered by the ingestion of gluten, if you are genetically programmed to be a celiac. 

It seems that there may be more to celiac disease than genetics and gluten, but suffice it to say that if you are diagnoses with celiac disease, you must remain on a life-long gluten free diet.

Classic celiac disease symptoms primarily affect the gut.  In most cases, the villi, the tiny finger-like structures on the inside of the gut that absorb nutrients, become seriously damaged. 

This reduces your ability to absorb nutrients, at the same time larger, partially digested food molecules pass into the blood stream.  This more or less poisons the body.

Besides the classic symptoms, celiac disease can cause serious health problems with just about any organ in the body.  In many cases, the only symptoms that present in celiac disease are organs besides the intestine.

Because of the many complicated and potentially serious symptoms of celiac disease, many of which are diseases in their own right, you must be very strict – fanatically religious – about your gluten free diet.

Even if you thing you feel fine after eating just a little gluten, you must avoid it anyhow or risk serious long-term health problems.

Gluten Allergy

A gluten allergy is less complicated than celiac disease.

Like many food allergies, a gluten allergy causes a number of symptoms, which are unique to each gluten allergy sufferer.

Unlike celiac disease, the effects are not necessarily as serious or pervasive.

Like celiac disease, if you have a gluten allergy, you must remain on a gluten free diet for life.

However, you can gauge your tolerance to gluten by how you feel.

If small amounts of gluten creep into your diet occasionally with no ill effect, your fine.

With luck, especially with children, there is a chance you will grow out of your gluten allergy.

Wheat Allergy

A wheat allergy is similar to a gluten allergy, except the food restrictions are a bit more relaxed.

Instead of avoiding all gluten-containing foods, it is just wheat that you must avoid.

Gluten Free Diet vs. Wheat Free Diet

A gluten free diet involves avoiding all foods with wheat, barley, oats or rye, as well as products derived from these ingredients.

A wheat free diet involves avoiding wheat only.  You may actually be able to tolerate gluten that has been isolated from wheat, depending on your allergy.


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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sam October 29, 2011 at 20:41

confused here as to what to do?wheat allergy now-so i do avoid all -what and gluten are similar but,id rather just stay away from it all,i get the behind the belly button pain ,i hope i dont have cel disease.

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2 Allergy Guy October 31, 2011 at 07:56

If you suspect celiac disease, then get tested for it, and also avoid all gluten.
If it turns out you only have a wheat allergy and still find it easier to avoid all gluten, then by all means, do that!

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3 Jennifer September 21, 2011 at 08:00

I have always eaten wheat products in the form of white flour and have trouble stopping when eating breads, pastas and pizza–so a mild addiction, I suppose. However, when I switched to whole wheat, fresh ground flour for health reasons, I began to get stomach aches and bloating after eating these things. I also have problems with frequent bruising although I don’t remember getting hurt. Would whole wheat products make a wheat or gluten allergy worse than white products?

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4 Dan w October 26, 2010 at 01:51

New to this, is gluten intolerance inherited, or caused by ? what tests are available? who to consult? Have diaharrea and weight loss, will travel.

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5 Allergy Guy October 26, 2010 at 17:43

Gluten intolerance is an inexact term in my opinion.

Celiac disease is inherited. Health problems are triggered by eating gluten for those with celiac disease. There are several tests for this. Some people consider a stool test to be the most reliable.

Some people may not be able to eat gluten due to an allergy or similar condition. There are tests for this also, but they are not very accurate. The best way to know for sure is to cut out all gluten and see if you feel better.

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