Q: Hi! My partner is a chef with celiac disease. Is it ok if he follows a gluten-free diet but still tastes the food? (very small amount of food containing gluten) I just want to know how risky it is.
Following a strict gluten-free diet free of cross-contact is the only way to stay safe and healthy when you have celiac disease. Tasting foods containing gluten is not safe. Very small amounts of gluten can trigger an autoimmune response and do damage to the small intestine. In a study, they found that even a tiny amount such as 10 milligrams of gluten a day caused damage in some individuals with celiac disease (1). This is equivalent to about a bread crumb. So even just a “bite” or “taste” of gluten-containing foods can do harm.
Some individuals may not have symptoms even though they have damage to the intestine. Continuous damage to the intestinal lining increases the risk for complications such as nutrient deficiencies, osteoporosis, certain cancers and more. My recommendation for a chef with celiac disease is to have someone else do the tasting and/or do more gluten-free recipes where possible.
- Catassi C, Fabiani E, Iacono G, D'Agate C, Francavilla R, Biagi F, Volta U, Accomando S, Picarelli A, De Vitis I, Pianelli G, Gesuita R, Carle F, Mandolesi A, Bearzi I, Fasano A. A prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to establish a safe gluten threshold for patients with celiac disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;85(1):160-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17209192
Reviewed October 14, 2022.
Note: This information is provided by NCA and Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN, NCA's Director of Education. This information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for personalized medical advice or replace any medical advice provided directly to you by your health care provider. No liability is assumed by the NCA or Katarina Mollo, MEd, RDN, LDN by providing this information.