6 myths about gluten debunked

Hi guys! If you have celiac disease, gluten intolerence or need to avoid gluten for any other reason, I believe the information I gathered will be interesting for you. No...

wheat field with the blue sky in the background

Hi guys! If you have celiac disease, gluten intolerence or need to avoid gluten for any other reason, I believe the information I gathered will be interesting for you. No matter where you are in your gluten-free journey I am sure you will still find these facts quite useful. Let's have a look at 6 misconceptions that are very common with people following gluten-free diet. So here are 6 myths about gluten debunked!

Myth Number 1: Gluten = wheat.

While the equation above is of course correct and wheat does mean gluten, the list of the grains where gluten is hiding in is long. Look out for rye, barley, wheat berries, semolina, spelt, farina, graham, durum, emmer, faro, khorasan, udon, and einkorn. Many of these grains are nutritious and have lots of health benefits, unfortunately they are a no-no for you if you are avoiding gluten.

loose wheat cornels with three wooden spoons

Myth number 2: Oats are gluten-free.

This is a difficult one! Pure oats are naturally gluten-free. However, they contain a protein called avenin, which has very similar properties to gluten. While most of us should be fine consuming oats, in people with severe coeliac disease, oats will trigger the same symptoms as gluten does. But even if you can tolerate the avenin, you still have to avoid the conventional oats because of the cross-contamination. Oats are often processed in the same facilities as gluten-containing grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. This makes most oats not safe for our consumption. I can tolerate oats really well and as you can see I use them quite often in my recipes. But I only use gluten-free certified oats and preferably organic.

Check out my favourite overnight oats recipes:

CHOCOLATE OVERNIGHT OATS – SIMPLE AND DELICIOUS RECIPE!

ALMOND AND ORANGE OVERNIGHT OATS IN JUST 5 MINUTES

BANANA AND PEANUT BUTTER OVERNIGHT OATS THAT TASTE LIKE A DESSERT

loose oat flakes in a mesh bag with a wooden spoon

Myth number 3: Soy sauce is gluten-free:

Another big misconception. While originally soy sauce was made out of, you guessed it, soybeans, many soy sauces are now made by fermenting wheat. If you like soy sauce as much as I do, use Tamari. Tamari is soy sauce that is actually made from soybeans and is mostly organic. Be aware of miso paste, it might be made with barley.

a little round bowl with soy sauce and wooden chopsticks

Myth number 4: only products with wheat in the ingredient list contain gluten.

Unfortunately, gluten is found in many more products than we can imagine. Thanks to gluten's capacity to act as a binding and extending agent, gluten is commonly used as an additive in processed foods to improved texture, moisture retention, and flavour. Gluten is found in a variety of products such as ice creams, confectionery, cold meats, sauces, yoghurts, jams, and many many more. If you see any of the following on the ingredients list you can assume that this product contains gluten:

  • Brown rice syrup: Although brown rice is a gluten-free grain, some varieties of brown rice syrup are made with barley enzymes.
  • Flour or cereal products: Most cereals are made out of wheat.
  • Hydrolysed vegetable protein (HVP): HVP is produced by boiling foods such as soy, corn, or wheat in hydrochloric acid. HVP  is a flavour enhancer that's added to processed foods. It can contain up to 30 per cent MSG and is best to be avoided all together, no matter what diet you might follow.
  • Textured vegetable protein (TVP): Usually made from high (50%) soy protein, soy flour or concentrate, but can also be made from cottonseed, wheat, and oats. 
  • Rice and barley malt: The word “malt” on a food label indicates that there is gluten in the product. Rice and barley malt are not gluten-free.
  • Malt vinegar: Same as above, malt is derived from the gluten-containing grain barley.
  • Seasonings: This is a difficult one. While spices are of course naturally gluten-free, some manufacturers add anticaking agents that contain gluten. If you are on a very strict gluten-free diet, you might want to avoid spices that are not certified as gluten-free.

When buying highly processed foods keep in mind that unless the product is gluten-free certified, it is probably not gluten-free and you are better off avoiding it.

Myth number 5: Alcohol:

It might come as a surprise to some of you that some alcoholic beverages contain gluten. Did you know that beer and vodka are commonly made by fermenting wheat and are not gluten-free? Lucky for us, many brewers spotted this growing market and are now producing delicious gluten-free beer. My favourite is a brewing company in Dromana, Victoria - Two Bays.

five glasses with vodka coctails

Myth number 6: Gluten-free products are good for me!

I hear this one all the time. So many people are buying into this marketing trick thinking that if it is labelled GLUTEN-FREE it must be good for us. However, as you just read this is far from the truth. The majority of gluten-free products still contain ingredients that you are better off to avoid.

I know, following a gluten-free diet can be tricky and overwhelming, especially if you have coeliac disease. However, if you consume foods that do not have packaging and labels such as fruit, vegetables, legumes, grains (gluten-free of course) fish and meat you will not just be fine. In fact, you will actually thrive.

What is your biggest challenge right now? Have you been following a gluten-free diet for a while or just starting off? Let me know. Just hit that reply button 😊 I would love to hear from you!

Wishing you a happy and healthy week,

Elena

Links you might found helpful:

Coeliac Australia

Celiac Disease Foundation

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