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Trace Gluten Contamination May Play a Role in Non-Responsive Celiac Disease

We all know that those individuals who have celiac disease must be on a strict gluten-free diet in order to get their health back on track. For some people with celiac disease, symptoms still persist even after adopting a gluten-free lifestyle.  People in this category are considered to have Non-Responsive Celiac Disease, or NRCD.

A recent study found that many people with NRCD are not improving because, unbeknownst to them, they are still getting traces of gluten in their diet. Published in BMC Gastroenterology, the researchers found that 14 out of 17 people who were previously classified with NRCD showed improvement in symptoms and reversed villous atrophy after being on a Gluten Contamination Elimination Diet, or GCED. 

Foods allowed on the GCED include:

• White and brown rice
• All fresh fruits and vegetables
• Fresh meat and fish
• Dried beans
• Unseasoned nuts in the shell
• Butter, plain yogurt, plain milk, and aged cheeses
• Oils
• Vinegar (except for flavored or malt)
• Honey
• Salt 
• Beverages include water, 100% juice, and Gatorade

Foods NOT allowed on the GCED include:

• Millet, sorghum, buckwheat, or any other grains, seeds, or flours
• Frozen, canned, or dried fruits and vegetables
• Lunchmeats
• Ham
• Bacon
• Seasoned or flavored dairy products or processed cheeses
• Flavored and malt vinegars

What this study seems to confirm is that there are traces of gluten in many popular processed foods, even those that may not include any gluten-containing ingredients. These traces of gluten may be the result of processing, packaging, shipping, or storing with gluten-containing grains. Emphasizing a diet that consists of whole, unprocessed foods not only ensures more nutrients for healing the digestive tract, but it also is less likely to have trace sources of gluten that could impede the healing process.