Is Granola Gluten Free?
Posted by Izhar Groner on
Granola is quite an old and classic food since it was first invented in 1863. Ever since then, people have been enjoying granola in many different ways. You can eat granola by itself or you can add it to yogurt, cereal, and even ice cream.
Whatever the case, you might be asking yourself the important question: Is granola gluten free?
This indeed is a significant question to ask for those who have gluten sensitivities or even gluten intolerances such as celiac disease. If you are unable to eat gluten and need to follow a gluten free diet, then you will need to be careful when trying new foods as some of them may contain gluten even if you don't expect it.
As for granola, in particular, the question can be a bit difficult to answer. In most cases, granola does not contain gluten. However, some types of granola do indeed contain gluten.
How can you tell what type of granola has gluten and what doesn't? Keep reading and learn more about gluten free granola as well as what gluten is exactly and how it affects the body.
What You Need to Know About Gluten
The first thing you should know is that gluten is a type of protein that you can often find in various types of grain. For example, you can find it in rye, wheat, durum, barley, and more. This protein is particularly abundant in wheat no matter what type of wheat it is.
While gluten is most commonly found in the grains mentioned above, the protein can occasionally occur in other foods that you might not expect as well. Keep in mind that it isn't just people with celiac disease that may suffer digestive issues when consuming this u unique protein. Many people often experience some kind of gastrointestinal upset when consuming foods that are rich in gluten.
Normally, gluten is a helpful protein that helps certain foods stick together. For example, if you were to make a fresh loaf of bread, gluten would form in the bread and help it keep its shape. You will often find this protein in a variety of baked goods such as pasta, crackers, cookies, bread, and more.
However, you will also find this protein in very different food products that contain barley such as vinegar and beer.
If you only have a sensitivity to gluten, you may experience a variety of symptoms such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and more. If you have a sensitivity, you should limit your consumption of gluten but you don't need to remove it from your diet completely.
On the other hand, the symptoms of celiac disease are a lot more severe. Celiac disease is much more severe because it is an autoimmune condition. If you were to consume gluten with this disease, the consumption of gluten could actually damage your intestines and cause severe digestive problems and pain.
If a person with celiac disease continues to eat foods containing gluten over a long period of time, this could lead to serious intestinal damage. It could also make it difficult for the person to absorb the right amount of nutrients from his or her diet due to damage to the intestine. This could lead to even more problems such as weight loss or malnutrition.
For that reason, people who have this disease should avoid eating any kind of gluten whatsoever. As long as he or she avoids foods made from grains that contain gluten, the person should be fine. But what about granola?
How can you know if granola has gluten or not?
Is Granola Gluten Free?
When eating gluten free foods, it is important to know the truth about granola. First, you need to know what granola is exactly. The main ingredients that make granola are oats, honey, and nuts.
You might expect oats to be full of gluten as with the other grains previously discussed, but this is not quite true. Oats are actually completely free of gluten naturally. Many people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity use oats for a variety of things.
Oat flour, for example, is the perfect gluten-free alternative if you want to make certain foods or baked goods. So, by nature, granola, in general, should be free of gluten as well. In most cases, this is true, but it is not always true.
Why might this be, you ask? The problem with oats is that oats may accumulate gluten if they are run through a processing facility that also handles grains that are rich in gluten such as wheat. Simply by passing the oats through the same machinery, the oats can become enriched with gluten.
Of course, the amount of gluten that the oats pick up will not be nearly as much gluten as you will find in wheat or barley. However, even trace amounts of gluten can be irritating to the gastrointestinal tracts of those who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivities. So, does that mean you will have to stay away from oats forever?
Not at all! All you have to do is be careful when shopping for oats. When buying anything that contains oats such as granola, you will need to check that the labeling says "gluten-free" on it.
What You Need to Know
Such products are made from oats that have not been run through machinery that already touched foods and grains that contain gluten.
This will ensure that the oats used to make the granola are completely free of even the smallest amounts of gluten. However, there is also another factor you should consider when buying granola. As mentioned before, the main ingredients of granola are oats, honey, and nuts.
However, some brands insist on adding extra ingredients to granola to improve its flavor or form. For example, some brands use wheat flour to make the granola form into chunks so it is easier to eat or sprinkle on other foods. However, the simple introduction of wheat flour will enrich the granola with gluten which, of course, is not what you want.
In other cases, some brands may add wheat germ to their granola as well. This can also cause problems for people who suffer from gluten sensitivities. Again, when buying granola, you will want to check that the packaging clearly states that it is free of gluten.
That way, you shouldn't have any gluten-related problems when eating granola and it should still be delicious.
How to Enjoy Gluten Free Granola
Once you discover a brand of gluten free granola that you like such as Plantraw granola, you might be wondering how you should enjoy and use it. Granola is a very versatile kind of food and you can use it in whatever way you want. Many people like to eat granola directly.
After all, it already is quite tasty all by itself. Many people like to take a bag of granola with them when hiking or going for a long walk. This is because granola is naturally packed with plenty of nutrients and can help you sustain your energy for hours at a time.
If you don't like the idea of eating granola by itself, you can always add it to other foods you enjoy. For example, many people love adding granola to a bowl of yogurt. This gives the yogurt a bit of extra flavor and texture.
You can also try adding granola to a variety of sweeter foods such as ice cream. Again, the blend of soft food with the crunchy nature of granola is very attractive to many people. You can also use granola in baked goods as long as you use gluten-free recipes, of course.
What to Know
For example, you can make some gluten-free muffins and then sprinkle some delicious granola on top to give the muffins an extra crunch. You can also do this with cookies and similar foods. Whatever the case, you can enjoy granola in many different ways.
And, of course, there are also types of granola that come in different flavors such as chocolate or coconut. So, you should never get tired of eating granola with all the options you have to enjoy.
All About Gluten Free Granola
Is granola gluten free, you might ask?
It mainly depends on what kind of granola you buy. While oats are naturally free of gluten, they may be processed in an area that has been exposed to gluten which will then cause the oats to be contaminated with this protein.
Some brands of granola also use wheat flour that contains gluten. For that reason, when buying granola, always make sure that it is free of this protein. To learn more, contact us here.