Is coffee gluten free? As an avid coffee drinker, I learned that many people with Celiac Disease wonder if drinking coffee is healthy for them. The short answer is yes, it is a safe and healthy drink for them to enjoy. Coffee can be an important part of a healthy lifestyle for those who cannot tolerate gluten.
Coffee is naturally gluten free. But some flavors of coffee can have gluten.
Some companies that use gluten-free ingredients in their coffee may not be entirely gluten-free
If you have celiac disease, you know how hard it is to find a coffee that doesn’t contain gluten. This can be especially challenging if you live in a small town or rural area.
Coffee is made from beans, and the grains that are used to make those beans are sometimes stored in fields that have been sprayed with wheat or barley crops. When this happens, the beans pick up some gluten molecules and get contaminated.
Some companies that use gluten-free ingredients in their coffee may not be entirely gluten-free. If you’re concerned about cross contamination, check the company’s website or call them directly to find out whether they test for gluten contamination.
Grain-based flavored coffees are likely to contain gluten
Gluten is a protein that is found in grains like wheat, barley, rye and spelt. Gluten-free diets are the best option for people with celiac disease, but many people are sensitive to gluten without having celiac disease.
Coffee beans contain no gluten themselves. However, coffee beans are often processed in facilities that also process other grains and beans (including wheat). This means that there’s a chance of cross-contamination during processing of your favorite cup o’ joe.
Grain-based flavored coffees are likely to contain gluten. Flavored coffees such as hazelnut and caramel are made with flavors derived from wheat or barley malt syrup. If you consume these flavors regularly and would like to avoid them, look for flavoring oils instead of syrups.
If you’re brewing coffee at home, stick to unflavored beans
Commercial products like flavored creamers and syrups are made with gluten. Some of these products are likely to be labeled as gluten-free, but double check the ingredients list before you buy.
If you’re allergic or sensitive to wheat and want to avoid it altogether, look for “100% Arabica” on the label of your coffee bag or box. This means that there are no additives in the bean itself, so it should be safe for people with wheat allergies or sensitivities.
Why is it good to drink coffee?
- Coffee is the world’s most popular beverage. The average American consumes 3.1 cups of coffee per day, but there are many health benefits to drinking coffee.
- Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants and can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. It may even help you live longer!
- Caffeine may have some health benefits, too. Studies have found that caffeine can improve mood, concentration and memory in some people and reduce fatigue in others.
- It’s important to note that these studies focused mainly on caffeinated coffee not decaf coffee or other forms of caffeine so it’s not clear if the same benefits apply to decaf coffee or other sources of caffeine like tea or soda pop.
You can safely brew your own coffee at home and be sure it is gluten-free
You don’t need to buy expensive, special beans or machinery to brew your own coffee just buy a regular bag of beans, grind them up and put them in a filter. The only thing you’ll need to worry about is whether the beans were exposed to gluten during processing.
If you’re going to buy store-bought beans, look for ones that are specifically labeled “gluten-free.” If you’re buying from a small local roaster, ask if they’re processed in a facility that handles wheat or other grains.
Most coffee is naturally gluten-free, but you need to read labels carefully for some brands because of additives
While coffee itself is naturally gluten-free, it’s possible for some brands to be cross-contaminated with gluten during processing. For example, some brands are made with barley malt extract or wheat flour as a stabilizer.
In addition, even if the label says “gluten free,” there may be hidden sources of gluten in your coffee. Some people with celiac disease (a digestive condition that makes it difficult to digest gluten) are sensitive to other foods that contain proteins similar to those found in wheat like oats or rye which can cause reactions when consumed simultaneously with coffee.
For the most part, coffee is gluten-free. However, added flavorings and other ingredients might not be, depending on how those ingredients are sourced and processed. In general, it’s best to stick with whole bean coffee and avoid flavored products that aren’t explicitly labeled as “gluten-free”.