Eating Gluten Free and Still Having Bowel Problems? 

Like a person with Diabetes we cross an invisible line and our bodies metaphorically say, “I can’t tolerate any more.”

Gluten Free Diet, Food Intolenances,  Diet and Gluten Free foods, Carbohydrate Intolerance

Miley Cyrus tweeted recently about how healthy she feels on a gluten free diet. 

Following her favorite Hollywood star, Brittany also went “gluten free”…but she is still experiencing symptoms such as constipation, bloating, and loose stools. 

Cyrus' and Brittany's situations are common. There are folks who feel better when they stop eating gluten and, and there are folks who don’t feel better when they stop eating gluten. 

People who stop eating gluten and feel better may have true gluten intolerance. That explains why eliminating gluten from their diet helps.  Like Cyrus, it appears they have found the cause of their digestive upset.

Other folks like Brittany - the people who stop eating gluten and still have symptoms - have not yet gotten to the root dietary cause. So what’s the solution for them?

Gluten or Carbohydrate Intolerant? There’s a difference. 

From school, we all learned that there are three basic food groups - fats, protein and carbohydrates. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, and rye. If you have been reading labels lately, you know that gluten is found in lots of common, everyday foods. 

Some people feel better reducing gluten, not because they are gluten intolerant, but because these folks may have carbohydrate intolerance. By eliminating gluten from their diets, they automatically eliminate carbohydrates and so start to feel better. That’s because gluten is only a smaller piece of the whole carbohydrate pie. Often, its more than just gluten causing diarrhea or gluten diarrhea.

Chances are they are carbohydrate intolerant, or may have developed intolerance to other foods in the carbohydrate group such as corn, rice, milk, cheese, sugar and other grains. 

Carbohydrate intolerance, as with all other types of food intolerances, is quantity related. That means that at some point our carbohydrate intake crosses a line and we have exceeded our body’s capacity to digest it. It’s not uncommon for us to see people who are eating too many carbs and diarrhea. Don’t make the mistake of assuming only gluten causes diarrhea.

Hold the Combo Platter? 

It is important to understand that food intolerances have nothing to do with weight loss or gain. It has to do with our body’s ability to digest our food. When we cross our personal threshold, we start to feel lousy and experience symptomatic bowel problems.

Like a person with Diabetes 2, we cross an invisible line and our bodies metaphorically say, “I can’t tolerate any more”. Symptoms result. For a look at common symptoms and types of food intolerances, see “Table of Symptoms for Food intolerances” below. 

People can develop food intolerance from any of the 3 major food groups - fats, proteins or carbohydrates. If you have symptoms from more than one of these columns, you may have a mixed food intolerance

Some folks say, “No matter what I eat I still experience bowel upset”. These people may have a mixed intolerance to fat, carbohydrate, and protein.  Of course none of us eat only a plate full of fat, or protein or carbohydrate all alone. And, none of us eat pure gluten alone. Most of us eat our meals in combination, which makes it hard to figure all this on your own. 

If you have experimented with your diet and are still experiencing symptoms such as the ones listed, there is another option. We know that when we find the cause, you’ve found the cure.

Testing can help you identity which food or food groups you are intolerant to. At the Digestion Relief Center, we use a multi disciplinary approach to bring you relief. First we identify what foods are causing your bowel symptoms. Then, we help you modify your diet, enhance your digestion and desensitize you to the foods that produce allergy-like reactions.

If traditional medical approaches for bowel problems are not working, call Dr. Patrick at 530-899-8741 to schedule at our Chico office. Find out how you can live life free of the pain and embarrassment of bowel problems. 

Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC, Internal Health Specialist, Founder of the Digestion Relief Center in Chico California, specializes in effective, natural relief for IBS, food sensitivities and digestive problems. His work has helped thousands of people in Chico, Redding and the Sacramento Valley.  Learn more at

Published in the Chico Enterprise Record May 9, 2012.

2012, © Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC. All Rights Reserved.

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Gluten Free Diet - wikipedia

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