5 minutes read
OMED Health

Will Cutting Out Gluten Improve My Gut health?

gluten website thumbnail

Why Gluten May Not Be the Problem

Gluten-free diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with many restaurant chains providing gluten-free dishes – or even separate menus! As awareness of gluten issues spreads, more people are being diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, but what should you do if you suspect a gluten sensitivity? In this blog, we will explain what gluten is, why it might or might not be the cause of gut discomfort, and what other food sensitivities and intolerances to look out for instead!

Gluten Allergies, Sensitivities, Intolerances… What’s the Difference?

You may think of carbohydrates when talking about gluten-containing grains like wheat. But did you know that gluten is a protein group? The specific proteins differ in different grains e.g. rye contains secalins which are a type of gluten (1). Gluten proteins act like glue helping to hold together foods like bread, pasta, and pies. It’s what gives the inside of a hot pastry that soft, gooey texture.

There is a complicated list of potential culprits if you find yourself with gut symptoms after eating gluten, yet the best way to check if you’re affected by gluten is to rule out different conditions by getting tested by your doctor. For example, people with celiac disease can have an immune reaction to the tiniest amounts of gluten particles floating around the kitchen. This can cause a lot of gut inflammation which can impair your ability to absorb nutrients from food. Celiac patients suffer from gut symptoms like bloating and nausea, or they could feel tired all the time and get sick often. You can do a simple blood test or biopsy to check for celiac disease and related allergies. A small percentage of people test negative on such tests, but still have gut symptoms after eating gluten containing foods. This is where working with a dietician to try different diets may work best to figure out your specific triggers. But could it be something else also present in gluten containing grains that’s causing gut distress?

Sneaky FODMAPs Hiding in Gluten Containing Foods

Inulin is a high FODMAP oligosaccharide that is sometimes advertised for its gut health benefits. It is a type of dietary fiber that can cause people with IBS to suffer from gut symptoms after eating a few grams of the stuff It’s not only found in wheat, but other plants like artichoke, onions, watermelon, and chicory root contain high levels as well. The issue lies in the units of sugar that inulin is made of: fructans i.e. small fructose molecules. These fructose chains are hard for us humans to digest, leaving it pretty much intact and available for gut microbes to feed on. Inulin is rapidly fermentable for our gut bacteria. When they break it down, gas is produced as a by-product, resulting in bloating and cramping for people with sensitive guts.

Why the Type of Dietary Fiber Matters

Other dietary fibers have longer sugar chains that aren’t as easily fermentable (3). For example, psyllium, a common ingredient in baked goods is also a dietary fiber, but it’s low FODMAP. It has even been found to reduce gas production in IBS patients who consumed it in combination with inulin, despite inulin normally causing gastric distress If you have been recommended to follow a low FODMAP diet, it’s important to still ensure that you eat a good amount of fiber as it can help prevent diarrhea and constipation. Check out our high fiber, low FODMAP recipes such as this warm quinoa salad or sweet potato soup.

When people reduce their gluten consumption, they will also reduce the amount of inulin in their diet which is why you might mistakenly point to gluten as the source of your gut symptoms.


There’s a high chance that FODMAPs such as inulin are causing your gut symptoms rather than the gluten proteins themselves. Interested in food intolerances more generally? We have an e-book that explains what they are and how to manage food intolerances to get back in control of your gut health. Unfortunately, figuring things out on your own can be tough. That’s why we’ve worked hard to develop a sensor-based device that measures hydrogen and methane levels in breath – the most common gases produced by our gut microbiomes. You can now join our waitlist to access our OMED Health Breath Analyzer Device. You can check your levels after eating different foods and work with our gastrointestinal clinician to help you to visualize how your gut responds to the different types of foods as well as contextual variables like stress. Be scientific about your gut journey so you can feel better now. You can find more information about the device on our homepage.


  1. Xhaferaj M, Muskovics G, Schall E, Bugyi Z, Tömösközi S, Scherf KA. Characterization of rye flours and their potential as reference material for gluten analysis. Food Chem. 2023 May 15;408:135148. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2022.135148
  2. Ripoll C, Flourié B, Megnien S, Hermand O, Janssens M. Gastrointestinal tolerance to an inulin-rich soluble roasted chicory extract after consumption in healthy subjects. Nutrition. 2010;26(7–8):799–803. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2009.07.013
  3. El-Salhy M, Ystad SO, Mazzawi T, Gundersen D. Dietary fiber in irritable bowel syndrome (Review). Int J Mol Med. 2017 Sep;40(3):607–13. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2017.3072
  4. Gunn D, Abbas Z, Harris HC, Major G, Hoad C, Gowland P, et al. Psyllium reduces inulin-induced colonic gas production in IBS: MRI and in vitro fermentation studies. Gut. 2022 May 1;71(5):919–27. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2021-324784

Download The Food Intolerances eBook