Smitha Nair M.D.

You May Test Negative for Celiac Disease but Still Have Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivities

Today, gluten-related disorders are becoming more common.  Ten to fifteen percent of our population is affected by gluten-related disorders. These disorders vary in their degree of severity, but all impact health and wellness.

Research has shown that a gluten free diet can actually help improve autoimmune diseases such as kidney disease, liver conditions, neurological conditions, heart disease, skin disorders, hormonal issues, gastrointestinal diseases, eye disease and rheumatological disease and celiac disease.

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is when you test negative for celiac disease, but you still react negatively when you eat gluten.  It is less severe than celiac disease but six times more Americans are estimated to have non-celiac sensitivities than celiac disease.

It’s estimated that 18 million Americans have gluten sensitivity.   Even though the symptoms may not be as severe, they can still make you feel bad!

How do you know if you have a gluten sensitivity?

  • You can have your doctor order tests
  • Take gluten out of your diet. Most people will notice symptoms disappear within a month if gluten is causing them a problem.

People with gluten sensitivities may experience abdominal pain, bloating or diarrhea after eating gluten.

Keeping a food diary is one suggestion to rule out food or ingredients that may cause you discomfort.  Keep track of what you eat and how you feel after eating it.

However, keep in mind that the symptoms on the list above may have other explanations as well.

Wheat is one of the main staples of a Western diet and is the number one culprit for those with gluten intolerance.

In addition to wheat, you should also avoid:

  • Wheat starch
  • Wheat bran
  • Wheat germ
  • Couscous
  • Cracked wheat
  • Durum
  • Einkorn
  • Farina
  • Faro
  • Graham flour
  • Kamut
  • Matzo
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Barley malt
  • Soba noodles
  • Beer
  • Ice Cream
  • Sauces and sauce mixes
  • Pasta
  • Barley
  • Bulgur
  • Oats (oats themselves don’t contain gluten, but are often processed in facilities that produce gluten-containing grains and may be contaminated)
  • Rye
  • Seitan
  • Triticale and Mir (a cross between wheat and rye)
  • Chicken broth
  • Malt vinegar
  • Some salad dressings
  • Veggie burgers (if not specified gluten-free)
  • Soy sauce
  • Seasonings and spice mixes
  • Condiments
  • Crackers


The link between gluten and autoimmune disease is getting stronger.  If you regularly experience some of the symptoms associated with gluten intolerance, then you may be reacting negatively to the gluten in your diet and the potential for developing one or more autoimmune diseases may be increased.

If you are regularly experience symptoms, consult with a doctor or try temporarily removing gluten from your diet for four to six weeks to see if it helps.

To book an appointment with functional medicine practitioner Dr. Nair, MD, click here.