If you’re new to being gluten-free, you might feel a little overwhelmed at all the new information. You might have some of the more straightforward stuff like the other names for gluten or how to read a gluten-free label. However, other gluten-free terms and vocabulary you might hear, like triticale or PPM, are more unusual (but just as important to know). Here’s a breakdown of some of the more uncommon terms surrounding Celiac disease and living gluten-free.
Villi line the walls of your small intestine, and they’re what get inflamed if you have Celiac disease. That’s what causes the yucky symptoms. Villi are also used to test for Celiac disease – normally they appear sort of like fingers, but if they’re flattened, that means they’ve been damaged.
2. Celiac sprue
This one’s no sweat – it’s actually just a less common name for Celiac disease itself.
This translates to “parts per million,” and is the term used to describe the level of gluten in a particular food. When a food is labeled gluten-free, that means that by law, it has to contain less than 20 PPM of gluten, or it’s not considered safe to consume if you’re avoiding gluten for health reasons.
Note: That doesn’t mean that everyone will always be safe eating “gluten-free” products. Some people are far more sensitive than others when it comes to gluten reactions.
This refers to a disease in which a person’s antibodies attack the body itself. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease, because your antibodies attack your small intestine when gluten is introduced – your antibodies see gluten as a foreign invader.
This means “without symptoms,” and it’s what can sometimes occur in people with Celiac disease. While people generally associate Celiac disease with very severe symptoms (and those often occur) it’s also possible to not present with symptoms, but still have the condition. However, even if you don’t have symptoms, you’ll still have intestinal damage if you have Celiac disease and consume gluten.
The main things people who go gluten-free have to stay away from are wheat, rye and barley. However, you might also see triticale on that list. Triticale is actually a hybrid of wheat and rye, so it’s a double threat.
Whenever you see a food product that says “certified gluten-free,” that means that it’s not just made of ingredients without gluten – it’s been officially okay-ed by an outside party with strict rules about how many PPM is allowed before being considered unsafe to consume. When in doubt about ingredients, look for the seal.
8. Dermatitis herpetiformis
This scary-sounding name refers to one of the most irritating and visible symptoms of Celiac disease – itchy blisters and bumps that usually appear on the arms, knees and buttocks. It’s important to remember this one because it can often appear even if you don’t have any digestive symptoms.
tTg-IgA refers to the blood test used to determine whether someone has a higher level of Celiac antibodies in their blood than the typical person – which points to Celiac disease. It’s the most straightforward way to confirm Celiac disease, with around 98% accuracy.
What other unusual gluten-free terms do you want to know about? Tell us in the comments below!