Doctors: Get tested before cutting gluten out completely - KCTV5

Doctors: Get tested before cutting gluten out completely

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(CNN) -

Just mention the word "gluten," and you're likely to get a whole host of reactions.

In the past few years it has become a dirty word to people who say they have a "gluten sensitivity." 

It's a protein found in foods like wheat, rye, and barley and for those who have celiac disease, eating it can cause severe abdominal pain.

Doctors say people who don't suffer from the disease should be careful before cutting gluten out completely. 

When you go to any grocery store, you are likely to see a whole host of gluten free products. For the roughly 3 million people who suffer from celiac disease, they are a welcome alternative.

"They have a problem absorbing that or breaking it down and their bodies develop a reaction where they get damage of the small bowel,"gastroenterologist Dr. Kavya Sebastian said. "Eventually it could be fatal."

However, in the past few years there has been a growing trend of people without celiac disease cutting gluten from their diets. Saying they had a "gluten sensitivity."

"After abstaining from gluten, they see a clear difference in their symptoms which could be bloating, abdominal pain, again these are all very general symptoms," Sebastian said.

Doctors say you should be tested before giving up gluten completely, because those symptoms might be caused by another issue all together. However, what about people who eliminate gluten from their diet and say they feel better?

"I am not clear if that is entirely because they are cutting out gluten - I think it might be the associated effect of heating a healthier lifestyle," Sebastian said.

Before anyone cuts gluten from their diet completely, doctors say there are some things to consider. One is the elimination of necessary nutrients and there is a possibility of weight gain. 

Many gluten free products are higher in fat, calories, and sugar. Most importantly, keep a diary so you can help doctors figure out what really may be going on.

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