What to do if I accidentally eat gluten?

In this article we’ll answer the question ‘what to do if I accidentally eat gluten?’. We’ll also take a look at what gluten is and what to do if you consume gluten with celiac disease.  

What to do if I accidentally eat gluten? 

If you are not allergic to gluten then, there is nothing to do if you have accidentally eaten gluten containing an ingredient or dish. Gluten isn’t generally harmful for most of the population. It can be safely consumed without any symptom or allergic reaction. 

However, this is not true for the population with gluten allergy or underlying disorders where consumption of gluten is harmful. In that case you can take measures to prevent the worsening of allergic reactions and help the system recover. (discussed in in detail later in this article)

What is gluten? 

Gluten is a protein that is found in plants like wheat, barley, and rye. It is a naturally occurring compound that is most abundantly found in wheat. It is a combination of two proteins called prolamin and glutelin. 

All types of flour containing products like pizza, wheat, bread contain gluten. Gluten can be extracted and concentrated from these plants. Adding gluten as an ingredient to other food can increase its protein content and add to the texture. Moreover, gluten also possesses a stretchy quality and acts as a binding agent. It allows the dough to be stretched  and kneaded easily.

Is gluten bad for you? 

No, contrary to several popular narratives and widespread use of gluten -free flours and products, gluten isn’t bad for you. Gluten has been a part of normal human diet ever since wheat was domesticated and bread was made. Thus, for a perfectly healthy human being gluten is not an issue. 

However, it is important to consider that we are no longer consuming flour in unrefined and in natural forms. Most breads are made of white flour with refined cultures that are nothing like what was consumed. In that case gluten can become a bit more problematic in terms of digestion and tolerance. The over processing of our food is probably the reason why allergies and food intolerances are becoming more common with each passing day. 

Who should avoid gluten? 

In the points below we have summarized some of the diseases and conditions where gluten can cause problems. Let’s take a look at when to avoid gluten in your diet. 

Wheat allergy

Gluten or anything that contains traces of wheat or wheat flour products should be avoided in case of wheat allergy. It is an allergy to wheat as a whole, not specifically gluten. 

Gluten intolerance 

Gluten intolerance differs from gluten allergy as it is not an allergic reaction caused by gluten. It is an irritation of the gastrointestinal tract from gluten that can often result in inflammation. 

Gluten ataxia 

It is a rare autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the brain in response to the consumption of gluten. 

Celiac disease 

Celiac disease is an allergy of gluten in which small intestines don’t tolerate the gluten present in food and result in allergic reaction and inflammation of the bowel. 

What is celiac disease? 

Celiac disease, celiac sprue or gluten sensitive enteropathy is a multi system disease in which a person becomes allergic to gluten. It is immune mediated and causes damage to the small intestines as a result of gluten dependent immune response. 

What to do if you accidentally eat gluten while having celiac disease? 

Here are some things that you can do if you have an allergy and accidentally ate gluten. Following these will help you get gluten out of the system and subside the allergic symptoms you may be having. 

  • Drink a lot of water if you have consumed gluten, it will help flush out the system and get rid of gluten present in the intestines. 
  • Fasting can also help with gluten allergies if you can consume it. It also gives the gut a time to reset and heal after the occurrence of inflammation caused by gluten. However, it is recommended to consult a doctor before fasting. 
  • Medicinal interventions like taking imodium, pepto bismol, and antihistamines also help relieve the symptoms of diarrhea, upset stomach and allergic reaction. 
  • Intake of marshmallows and peppermint tea also help in the relaxation of the gut and prevent flatulence. 
  • Digestive enzymes and probiotics also help with gluten allergy and aid in the overall gut maintenance. They are efficient against small and large amounts of gluten intakes respectively. 


In this article we answered the question ‘what to do if I accidentally eat gluten?’. We also took a look at what gluten is and what to do if you consume gluten with celiac disease. 



Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.