Digestive Discomfort After Going Gluten Free

Initially my body felt better when I went gluten-free, and I wasn’t even 100% gluten free initially.  But going gluten-free doesn’t mean the end of digestive discomfort, sometimes it means that it is beginning a new phase in understanding our bodies and helping to repair the damage that has been done by all that gluten.

If someone is gluten-free or has Celiac and they are exposed to gluten, they will likely experience some discomfort, sometimes pretty severe discomfort.  That isn’t what I am talking about in this post.  Certainly if a person has gone gluten-free and they have discomfort, the first thing they should look for is if gluten slipped into their diet somehow.  After a thorough investigation, there remain several possibilities.  I will focus on three today:

Sugar.  Most people who have been diagnosed with a gluten-intolerance and all people who have Celiac have damage in their intestines.  Sugar seems to really cause problems with an already-sensitive digestive system.  I have noticed for myself that I can no longer tolerate eating sweets by themselves.  If they are part of a meal or have some more substantial food incorporated into them I am usually okay.

This varies from person to person with some people finding they are fine with honey and agave but not with regular sugar or corn syrup in any form.  Other people find that honey affects them as well.  I am not going to get into the science behind how sugar is produced and how it interacts in our bodies.  Just consider that if you are still having digestive discomfort that it may be related to sugar consumption.  Experiment, keep a food journal, and see if you see a link.

Besides, our bodies do not need the level of sugar consumption that is encouraged in these modern days.  You will likely be healthier overall if you reduce your sugar consumption, whether you are having digestive problems or not.

Artificial Sweeteners.  Even before I went gluten-free I noticed that if I had a diet pop (soda for you outside the midwest) I would get stomach cramping within an hour or two.  I didn’t drink diet pop very often and after I noticed the link I stopped drinking it completely. 

I am not comfortable with all the processing and chemical modification that takes place to create artificial sweeteners, it just doesn’t seem like a good idea for our bodies.  That being said, each person needs to make their own choice and I certainly have enough of my own quirks that I am not going to judge you for drinking aspartame or splenda.  Just consider that if you are having digestive problems and you are consuming artificial sweeteners they may be a cause.

Another Food Intolerance.  Some folks have challenges with lactose, corn, soy, or eggs, to name a few.  There is always the possibility that your body is reacting to another ingredient.  See your medical professional to determine if this might be the case.

There are many other causes of digestive discomfort including food poisoning, gallbladder issues, and viruses.  Always listen to your body, look for patterns, and seek medical attention, especially if the symptoms are severe or last for an extended period of time.  When you aren’t feeling well it is difficult to be at your best.  Take care of yourself so you can participate in life the way you would like to!

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December 05 2009 12:06 pm | Health and celiac and gluten free and gluten intolerance

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