Gluten intolerance, food allergies can be misunderstood

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Understanding the difference between food allergies and gluten intolerance can help you understand how you are impacted by what you eat. (KABC)

Linda Solomon always got sick after eating bread or pasta.

"I was having a lot of pain in my lower intestinal region," Solomon said.

What she thought was a food allergy was actually celiac disease.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that makes it impossible to digest gluten.

"I had to immediately go on to a gluten-free diet," Solomon said.

While it is possible to be gluten intolerant, it is impossible to have a gluten allergy, according to allergist Katie Marks-Cogan.

"Gluten allergy is not a real term. You can have a wheat allergy or a barley or rye allergy, but gluten is a whole group of proteins that are found in all of these different grains," Marks-Cogan said.

Marks-Cogan said that food allergies cause an immune response that affects numerous organs and can potentially be life-threatening. She also said that food intolerance is usually less serious and often a digestive issue.

According to Marks-Cogan, gluten intolerance is a relatively new discovery.

"It's such a new diagnosis and because there aren't tests, it's very hard to track," Marks-Cogan said.

The most common food intolerances include dairy, eggs, grains, corn and soy.

Solomon said the easiest way to track if you have an intolerance or allergy is to keep a journal of everything you eat.

"It's so amazing to me now that I really understand how impacted you can be from the foods that you eat," Solomon said.
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