What’s the difference between having celiac disease and being sensitive to gluten?
A lot, at least medically.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the body triggers an attack on the intestines when gluten is eaten, said Rachel Begun, a food and nutrition consultant based in Boulder, Colorado.
Gluten sensitivity is neither a prelude to celiac nor a mild form of it. It’s not an autoimmune disease at all, because the body doesn’t produce gluten antibodies and gluten doesn’t harm the intestines.
The similarity between the two lies in the symptoms, everything from stomach upset, bloating, to joint pain to inflammation, and/or fatigue. The American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) suggests that people who think they have a gluten intolerance should still be tested for celiac disease before starting on a gluten-free diet.
As for the term gluten intolerance, most doctors don’t use it any more because it’s too broad. They prefer the term non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), or simply gluten sensitivity.
Now you know.
Source: U.S. News and World Report, Toby Amidor.