Treatment Guide

Do Symptoms Worsen When You Eat Gluten After Being Gluten-Free?

Facebook Gluten Free WorksThe body goes through changes when people adopt a gluten-free diet. Many find their health problems melt away. But what about when they accidentally ingest gluten? Gluten Free Works wanted to find out whether folks discover their symptoms change in intensity after they have been gluten-free for awhile, so we posed the following question on our Facebook page


Do you notice when you accidentally eat gluten that your symptoms are WORSE now that you have been gluten-free for awhile? Or, are they not as bad??


Here are their answers…


    • Jake G

    • Ellen J way worse!!!!

    • Shellie B Definitely worse

    • Sondra P Worse


      Alison M Way way worse now! I feel like I’m going to die if I have gluten…..that alone makes me ultra vigilant

      Monday at 3:45pm via mobile ·  ·  3
    • Karen P way way way worse

    • Brandon M Definitely worse!

    • Michelle T Way, way worse!! It makes me be that much more careful now because nothing is worth that much pain/agony.

    • Linda O Much much worse!

      Monday at 3:48pm via mobile · 
    • Teresa T Really bad. I end up suffering from fibromyalgia flareup.

    • Linda N absolutely. now a small amt can have me doubled over in pain within 1/2 hr. it is almost like when we eat it all the time we build up some weird tolerance but when we omit it, even for a little while, our body relaxes and starts function normally. then add it back in and bang, pain!

      Monday at 3:51pm ·  ·  3
    • Claire M oh that is intersting – i have been wheat/gf free for 4 weeks now and last thursday had something that i think may have had something in it and woah was the reaction bad! much much worse from wheni was walking around eating hte stuff unaware…


      Christie B Even a tiny crumb makes me bloat BIG time now! Crazy.. I guess our immune systems work that way…

    • Amy M Way way way much worse!

      Monday at 3:57pm via mobile · 


    • Angela L Worse

    • Jeanette RThey r much worse. But I think is that I am getting used to feeling good, so now I could feel the difference

    • Ana D Teresa my family isn’t gluten free but I am I make them their food and I have my gf food I eat and when I go out to eat I order gf meals my health is more important I don’t make them eat gf and they don’t make me eat gluten simple as that.

      Monday at 4:03pm via mobile ·  ·  2

      Aimee B Much worse! And I have new symptoms like horrible arthritis flare-ups and sleeplessness when I have any gluten.

      Monday at 4:06pm via mobile · 
    • Jeanette R Even my little ones feel the difference. My 8 year old son with autism feels so much better without gluten.. he is always checking labels and he tells people who want to feed him that he cannot eat gluten.

      Monday at 4:06pm ·  ·  3
    • Lori J Much worse, and last longer :(

    • Jann B Considering everyone describing WORSE symptoms if eating gluten after being GF, I wondering if this means we shouldn’t be going COMPLETELY GF… Hmnnn…??..

    • Jennifer W Worse!!!

      Monday at 4:14pm via mobile · 
    • Gina K Absolutely way worse. From way less.

      Monday at 4:35pm via mobile · 
    • Amanda L Worse

      Monday at 4:45pm via mobile · 
    • Laurel F I keep separate sections of my kitchen, fridge, freezer, oven, kitchen/cookware designated GF and this makes my life much better! I NEVER choose to eat gluten. If I get exposed to small amounts accidentally, the same symptoms that used to rule and limit my life return, they seem sudden, more severe and long-lasting in contrast to how much healthier I am GF! The upside is that each time, I become more aware of how much gluten really damages my system. The damage affects my ability to digest food for much longer time than I used to notice when I was used to being sick all of the time.

      Monday at 4:45pm ·  ·  1

      Natalyn W Awful!!!!

      Monday at 4:46pm via mobile · 
    • Linda H I am glad I am not the only with worsen issues when I get small amounts in me. My husband noticed it before o realize what was going. Thank God for a supported husband. We eats whatever I cooks and looks for restaurants that are safe for me. As are even thinking his stomach pain may xus because cutting a lot of gluten out of his diet too

      Monday at 5:10pm via mobile · 
    • Liane D Omg way worse.

      Monday at 5:56pm via mobile · 
    • Monica V WORSE!!!!!!!!! so much worse!!!!!! glad to know I’m not alone, thanks so much for the feedback!!!

    • Mary A Worse an I get very angry when I get the corn grain in my food too.

      Monday at 6:55pm via mobile · 
    • Lorraine G I think they are worse although it may be that I am noticingthem more now that I feel so much better all the time.


      Nutrimom- Food Allergy  Worse

    • Tara G They are far worse than when I was eating gluten all the time!!! It only takes a small amount as well to set things off.

      Monday at 9:13pm via mobile · 
    • Jean R If you feel bad all the time, then eat some you don’t feel worse. But if you feel good, then eat gluten it is like going from zero to 1000 on the scale of feeling bad. The degree of change is just so much greater. Stay feeling well. Find the gluten free version of what you like, or make one and sell it.

      Monday at 9:41pm via mobile ·  ·  1

      Patricia M Worse!! SO MUCH worse!


What about you? Are YOUR symptoms worse when you ingest gluten now that you have been gluten-free? Why?

Leave your comments below!


Author Information: John Libonati, Philadelphia, PA


Gluten Free Works Health Recovery Center

John can be reached by e-mail here.

About John Libonati

Author Information: John Libonati, SW Florida Publisher, & The Gluten Free Works Treatment Guide.


  1. I have Celiac. My worst symptoms were when my villi were damaged. I was glutened for the first time in a year or so last month. Had very mild symptoms that resolved in two-three days. I didn’t like it and won’t be eating at restaurants again for a long time.

  2. I was asymptomatic before going GF but if I eat wheat now I certainly notice symptoms – both minor issues I just always ‘lived’ with as well as actual acute symptoms. Cross contamination doesn’t seem to overtly bother me but I still try to minimize it do to any unseen consequences.

  3. I read the book, Dangerous Grains and am now putting together my puzzle pieces. Three times now when a restaurant did me wrong, I got bloating within 30 mins., then over next 2 days got sacral ileitus, and mouth sores. The last time this happened my head did not feel normal.

  4. Christie made the most insightful comment, regarding our immune systems. When we with celiac exclude gluten, our immune systems gather strength, become hypervigilant, and can be much more destructive. Additional organs and body systems can become targets of your immune system, if you ingest gluten after being gluten-free for a time. As celiac chef Sueson Vess answered the question by someone newly diagnosed, “Do people on this diet cheat?”, “If you cheat after being completely gluten-free for 6 months or more, you will know why we don’t.”

  5. I’ve been gf since the beginning of summer and yes, I just don’t feel as happy and healthy if I eat gluten.

  6. I have just recently been GF and noticing that I feel so much better and that I do not hurt, it is an amazing new journey.. but today I accidently ate a few meatballs with my brown rice pasta not even looking at the meatball bag and within an hour felt bloated, gassy and sick to my stomach with strange bowel movement. I could not figure out what it was that I could of eaten then I realized I ate the meatballs, not “my” meatballs but kirkland’s and read ingredients, wheat flour, enriched white bread crumbs. etc, NEVER AGAIN!!

  7. I am so glad I found this site. I have been gluten free for almost two months. It is the best thing I have ever done. I have had bits here and there of wheat, but almost none. Last night, however, my daughter made a loaf of banana bread. Dad, of course, is obligated to eat some; not one, not two, but three slices. Well, last night I fell asleep quick, but woke up about an hour later with anxiety, rapid heart beat, and honestly, feeling like trip to the ER might be in order. It was as if every system was out of whack. I went to sleep and had very weird dreams and when I woke, could still feel many of the same effects, but less severe. I flooded my system with water, went for a long walk, and fasted most of the day. It almost 4:00pm and I do feel almost 100%; not quite, but close. I started searching the web to see if there was a connection between the eating of the bread and my symptoms. I am so glad I found this site as I got my answer. Honestly, I am shocked at the effects it had on my body. And to think my body was so use to gluten that about my only symptoms prior to going gluten free was upset stomach and bloating feeling.

    • Jon,
      I have had the same weird symptoms that you describe. I eat GF and have for almost 10 years now, but also get these symptoms from eating some other foods. I just had a Alcat food intolerance test done and found there is 38 different foods that my body doesn’t like. No wonder I have felt very strange, especially at night, waking with the same symptoms that you describe. Frankly, until reading your post, I thought I was crazy. At least if I am, now I know there is two of us out here. :):):)

  8. Before going gluten free, I had severe headaches, neck and back pain. All that is gone!!!! BUT, now, when I cheat, I get MAJOR bathroom issues!!!!! Is that “normal”?

  9. I got sick as a dog when I accidentally ate gluten after being GF for over 5 months. Stomach cramping, bloating, and diarrhea

  10. I’ve only been gluten free for a few weeks. I’m not necessarily doing it because I’m allergic but I’m following the paleo diet and it just happens to be gluten free. Today I cheated big time and had a burrito. Within 15 minutes my stomach was killing me. Aching and cramping. Now an hour and half later my stomach is still hurting. I’m still not sure if I’m allergic to gluten or if my body is freaking out on this carb overload. But it’s TERRIBLE.

  11. I have been gf for almost a year. Any gluten now sends my whole digestive system in a tailspin with terrible bloating, diarrhea and horrific stomach pain for a couple of days. It’s just not worth it !!! I have had daily migraines for 14 years and I am happy to say that I am now off of all the equally debilitating medications I was on. I am finally me again! I’m not totally migraine free, but they are so much better and I have a life again! !!

  12. It has been a crazy journey being gluten free. I have been gluten free for a year and a half. Been sick and diagnosed with various things which I now know many were caused from gluten. Now if I accidentally injest even traces of gluten my symptom come on with a vengeance. The strange thing is my IBS and IC which were always huge are not the biggest of problems. The severe leg pains, muscle cramps, and headaches among other things trump IBC and IC. So yes symptoms are worse after going gluten free just different.

  13. My son is gluten intolerant. We went out of town after he’d been gf for about 6 weeks. He ate airplane peanuts (my bad, the label said wheat in the ingredients), which he didn’t know had gluten, and a small snack sized Twizzler. That night, he was throwing up. Any time he has even small amounts of gluten he gets diarrhea. So, I would say his symptoms are way worse when he has gluten.

  14. I was diagnosed with Celiac in 2007, and have been gluten free since then. If I accidently ingest gluten, I usually start with abdominal pain and frequent trips to the bathroom for about 12-24 hours. Not fun!

  15. I agree in the first few years after being GF when I was accidentally “glutened” I felt so much worse. Now after 4.5 years, the symptoms come on faster but are no where near as intense. I am praying this means my gut is healing. I am able to touch Gluten foods and then immediately wash hands with minimal itching, before I refused to eat form a table that held and foods known to contain gluten.

  16. I have gluten ataxia as well as digestive symptoms. The tiniest amount of gluten now sends me to bed for days with severe nerve pain and the inability to remain upright. I never say food others prepare and now only eat foods prepared in certified gluten free facilities. Had to give up oats as even the certified oats were causing symptoms.

  17. Definitely worse, only been fully gluten free for a little over a month now, as well as soy and casein free. Have accidentally ingested gluten once and soy once both times ended up in excruciating pain within 30 minutes. Totally not worth eating anything I used to crave!

  18. I have been 100% gluten free for 4 weeks now. Last night I went to a birthday party and decided to throw caution into the wind and I indulged on pizza and cake. This morning I woke up with eyes so swollen I looked like an alien. My eyes were weeping and yellow. Also, I Gained 5 lbs over night (Water weight?). I know that I am affected MUCH more dramatically now than before because when I are gluten with meals in the past my eyes didn’t look extremely swollen like this.

  19. Finished off my husbands wheat beer and less than an hour later my normally flat belly looked 9 months pregnant. Recently ate a meal at my kid’s school (which in retrospect likely contained gluten- beef stew). The pain and bloating started while I was still there. I had issues the rest of the night. Short answer: WORSE!

  20. I had muscle and joint pain for years. After trying physical therapy, chiropractic, orthopedics, and X-ray to rule out arthritis I went GF two months ago. The improvement was almost immediate and dramatic. Two weeks ago I accidentally ingested some bulgur wheat and 48 hours later had by far the worst hip, leg, and knee pain I had ever experienced. The symptoms lasted three days. Now back to my new relatively pàin free normal and there is no doubt that gluten triggers inflammation for me. I will be very vigilant from now on. No food is worth that price.

  21. Way way worse. My understanding about why is that regulatory T-cells (policemen cells of the immune system, lymphocytes) are present and actively mediating (calming down) the inflammatory reaction when a gluten intolerant person is chomping down gluten. When they eliminate gluten, the body down-regulates the production of these regulatory T-cells because it no longer has the signal for the need for them. Then when the person decides to throw gluten back on the gut, no (or few) regulatory T cells are present to control the inflammation so literally, all hell breaks loose on the gut lining. The gluten free diet is actually extremely dangerous for people who do it as a short term fad but who are actually undiagnosed celiacs or gluten intolerant. I know people who tried it, went back on gluten regularly, and then had major health breakdown. Not something to play around with.

  22. Jason Kelvington

    I as gluten free for over two years due to celiac disease. Recently I snapped and started eating it again for bout 5 weeks. I was fine until tonight. Bad stomach and side pains. I plan to stop again after I return from my vacation. But so far up till tonight it wasn’t bad till tonight, small symptoms started about two weeks after I first started.

  23. Ate gluten all my life and sure enjoyed it!! 1 1/2 yrs ago, at age 65, decided to do keto diet to lose weight, which I have, 70 lbs! I sure feel great!!…but in that time I have eaten gluten 4 times, and every time, 2 days later I get vomiting, headaches, fatigue and am on the couch for 2 or 3 days…..never again….

  24. Much worse now. After only being fully gluten free for around 4 weeks I was questioning did I always feel this bad and just didn’t notice it? But after a few mistakes since stopping I almost know what I’m going to be facing and it’s definitely getting worse. Not so much my stomach but the brain fog and extreme fatigue can last for days before I feel ok again. I’m now certain that it is gluten causing me my problems.

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