Just because you don't have celiac disease doesn't mean you're not sensitive to gluten. Gluten encompasses all forms of wheat, and many other grains like barley and rye. Those with celiac disease have an autoimmune disorder that attacks the small intestine when they eat gluten, destroying the villi responsible for absorbing nutrients. If celiac disease goes unchecked, it can lead to additional autoimmune disorders, and even intestinal cancer.
The bottom line? If you think gluten doesn't sit right with your stomach, talk to a doctor, especially if celiac disease runs in your family. The earlier you catch the disease, the better you'll feel!
But what if you don't have Celiac Disease and gluten still bothers you? That's perfectly normal, and it's become more and more common in folks every day. A gluten allergy takes many shapes and forms, sometimes showing itself as a rash, hives, headache, stomach ache, bloating and diarrhea. These symptoms are called non-celiac wheat symptoms, and can still wreak havoc on your body. However, just because you get diarrhea after eating gluten-heavy meals doesn't mean you're wheat intolerant. You simply could be eating too many carbs and this is your body's reaction to your unhealthy habits. Try cutting carbs for a while to see if this helps.
There is no current test for wheat sensitivity, but there could be in the future! If you test negative for celiac disease, but you know that gluten will mess with your system, simply stop eating it. Ceasing to eat food because it gives you negative symptoms is not succumbing to a fad diet, contrary to popular belief.
However, as you cut gluten, make sure you are supplementing the nutrients you normally received from bread in other ways. For example, cutting gluten completely might leave you with a deficit of fiber, iron and folic acid. The best way to move forward is to eat more fruits and vegetables, which are high in fiber, iron and vitamin B—necessary nutrients to keep your body functioning normally.
It is important to consult a physician before making any rigorous diet changes. If you think you are gluten intolerant, do not self-diagnose. Cutting gluten from your diet can be tricky, and you should always consult a dietician to make sure your meals are balanced and healthy before making any life-altering changes.