Ask the Expert: Will Gluten-Free Foods Relieve Stomach Issues?

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Eating well with grains gluten diet food

Answers to your questions about detoxifying yoga, back pain, digestive distress, and more.

I’ve tried going off gluten to relieve stomach issues. It seems to help at first, but then my symptoms come back. What’s going on?

Not everyone who experiences gastrointestinal distress is gluten intolerant or suffering from celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes damage to the small intestine when gluten is digested. Your doctor can do a blood test to rule out celiac symptoms. She can also assess you for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), another condition characterized by bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Or it may be a group of short-chain carbohydrates called fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPs) that’s to blame. Found in wheat, barley, onions, garlic, legumes, apples, pears, and more, these carbs pull water into the intestines and quickly ferment, creating excess gas and symptoms in sensitive people. While FODMAPs are not a known cause of IBS, a low-FODMAP diet may provide relief for those who suffer from IBS symptoms.

--Kate Scarlata, RD, LDN
Digestive-health expert and co-author of 21-Day Tummy, Boston, Massachusetts

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