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The Side Effects of Eating Gluten
(After Being Gluten-Free)

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Understanding the side effects of eating gluten when you have coeliac disease

When you have coeliac disease, understanding the side effects of eating gluten after being gluten-free is crucial.


This guide will help you navigate the challenges and manage your health effectively.

If you've been diagnosed with coeliac disease you'll have been told to maintain a strict gluten-free diet.

But sometimes it's not that simple and it can be easy to slip up, either by accidentally eating gluten or by getting frustrated and thinking it won't matter "just the once".

The truth is, it's imperative to maintain a gluten-free diet when you've been given a medical diagnosis like coeliac disease. There are some very real consequences and it's not advisable to ignore them. 

The FAQs below will help to answer your main questions but to understand more, click the link below and choose the gluten-free course 'From Bloated To Brilliant' where a coeliac doctor and specialist coeliac dietitian will give you clear and thorough medical evidence to show you why eating gluten isn't a good idea.



What are the side effects of eating gluten when you have coeliac disease?

The side effects can vary from person to person (and there are a lot) but common symptoms include bloating, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and fatigue.

Can the side effects of eating gluten after being gluten-free be severe?

In some cases, the side effects can be severe and may require medical attention. It's always best to consult with a healthcare professional if you're concerned.

Can I develop a tolerance to gluten over time?

No. Coeliac disease is a lifelong condition and you cannot develop a tolerance to gluten. It's not to be confused with having an allergy where trials have shown introducing tiny amounts of a food the person is allergic to can develop their tolerance over time.

Can I prevent the side effects of eating gluten after being gluten-free?

This is tricky. While the best way to prevent these side effects is to strictly adhere to a gluten-free diet, if there's been a slip-up you can try some over-the-counter medicines. You can also start a trial with Ferrocalm.

Does it matter if I eat gluten and I don't get side effects?

If you eat gluten when you have coeliac disease but don't get immediate side effects, don't make the mistake of thinking damage isn't being done. There are plenty of coeliacs who have no idea they have coeliac disease until they have a biopsy which shows intestinal damage. This can occur regardless of whether you feel ill or not so it's vital you maintain a gluten-free diet.

How can I manage the side effects of eating gluten after being gluten-free?

Managing the side effects involves avoiding gluten, staying hydrated, and taking over-the-counter medication for symptom relief. You may wish to take part in an online trial to see if a particular medication works. Click below for details.

Are there any long-term effects of eating gluten after being gluten-free?

Long-term exposure to gluten in a coeliac can lead to complications like malnutrition, osteoporosis, and in rare cases, small bowel cancer.

You can find out more in Ali's online course 'From Bloated To Brilliant'. Just click the link below.

What foods should I avoid to prevent the side effects of eating gluten after being gluten-free?

As always, you should avoid foods that contain wheat, barley, oats* and rye. This includes bread, pasta, beer, and many processed foods.

How long do the side effects of eating gluten after being gluten-free last?

The duration of the side effects can vary, but typically symptoms can last from a few hours to several days. However, some people are unlucky and report being unwell for weeks.

What should I do if I accidentally eat gluten?

If you accidentally eat gluten, it's important to drink plenty of water, eat a balanced gluten-free diet, and rest. If symptoms persist, seek medical advice. To learn more about managing symptoms, look at 'From Bloated To Brilliant' for top tips.

Can children experience side effects of eating gluten after being gluten-free?

Yes, children with coeliac disease can also experience these side effects. It's important to manage their diet carefully and ensure their childcare provider(s) know what they can and can't have. If they're at nursery or school they should have a statement outlining health and safety precautions.

Are there foods that are better for me after I've been gluten-free?

Some people feel better if they eat foods that are gentle on their stomachs like mashed potato or banana. But each individual is different so you may wish to seek advice from a specialist coeliac dietitian.

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How to Manage the Side Effects of Eating Gluten After Being Gluten-Free

And yes, it's happened to me

When I first got coeliac disease, I was glutened more times than I care to remember. Usually it was because I had no idea what foods contained gluten. I went for a Chinese and was halfway through eating a battered prawn ball before I remembered flour went into batter.

But at that stage my insides hadn't really recovered so eating gluten just meant more of the same symptoms (bloating, diarrhoea and general misery). 

So it wasn't until I'd been gluten-free for some time that I really noticed the effects of eating gluten. I never deliberately tried to eat it but every so often I'd suffer cross-contact, misunderstandings in restaurants or incorrectly labelled food. 

So if you're in the same position, make sure you follow some of my top tips for avoiding gluten in the first place. Click below to read about the hidden dangers of gluten and get a gluten-free checklist.

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