Kroger dietitian and nutrition instructor Molly Hembree, M.S., R.D., L.D., answers your health and wellness questions.

Is celiac a disease or allergy? Can it be cured?

Bad news first. Celiac disease can’t be cured, and the only treatment is a lifelong gluten-free diet (no wheat, barley or rye) . The good news: There are numerous gluten-free alternatives on the market, and many foods are naturally gluten-free (fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and more).

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder or intolerance, not an allergy. When someone with celiac disease eats gluten, the gluten damages the fingerlike projections (“microvilli”) inside the small intestine, which manage nutrient absorption, thereby leading to malabsorption. This presents as symptoms ranging from diarrhea to joint pain to fatigue. Talk to your doctor if you suspect you may have celiac disease, so you can get tested.

Have a nutrition-related question for Molly? Send it to [email protected].

A registered dietitian with Kroger, Molly provides private nutrition counseling services and has been a public speaker, radio talk show guest, blog author and TV news presenter for Kroger. She enjoys helping customers simplify the confusing world of nutrition labels, diet intolerances, weight management or plant-based nutrition. When not at work, you can find her at a hip-hop dance class, snuggling with her cats or working on her food photography skills.