If you recently discovered that you have a gluten sensitivity – don’t panic: you have options.
Much attention is given to what you can and cannot eat when you are on a gluten-free diet, but what you can drink is critical as well! Some beverages have the gluten containing grains of wheat, rye, or barley in them, which will derail any gluten free diet with just a sip. Whether you are gluten intolerant, have celiac disease, or are choosing to follow a gluten-free diet as a healthy way of eating, read on to find out which alcoholic beverages are safe for gluten-free diets, and which to avoid.
Beer. Because beer is made with malted barley (a gluten-containing grain), it is inherently off-limits for anyone following a gluten-free lifestyle. There is good news for beer fans, though: today gluten free beers are easier to find than ever before. These beers use grains like rice or corn to provide safe, gluten-free alternatives. Many ciders on the market today also provide consumers with a safe alternative to traditional beers.
Wine. Wine’s status as a gluten free drink is the subject of considerable debate among those who the most sensitive to even the smallest amounts of gluten. At first glance, it seems like there would be no question as to the wine’s status as a gluten-free beverage since wine is made from grapes. Theoretically, the problem can come into question if a wine barrel has previously contained something with gluten or if a gluten agent is used to seal the wine barrel. This potential gluten cross contamination is considered to be extremely rare, however. If you have had a problem with wine or have extreme gluten sensitivities, you can look for wines correctly labeled ‘gluten-free’ or call the manufacturer to verify the wine’s safety. Note that wine coolers are not typically considered safe because they may contain malts or flavoring ingredients with gluten.
Liquor. Determining the gluten free status of liquor and spirits is a complicated issue that must be determined on a case by case basis. The safest options are plain, unflavored options like rum and tequila because they come from non-gluten sources. Additionally, some vodka comes from potatoes, and some whiskey comes from corn, making them safe choices as well. But note that because both of these drinks can also come from other sources, it’s essential to check the sources before imbibing.
Technically speaking, even the spirits that do come from glutinous grains should be gluten-free because gluten particles are too large to make it through the distilling process. However, critics say that the distilling process is not always thorough enough to remove all of the gluten. Folks with extreme sensitivities or with medical conditions that mandate gluten free living are likely better off avoiding such options.
The final factor to consider in the gluten-free status of the liquor is whether or not it is flavored. Liquors with “natural flavorings” as ingredients often contain gluten ingredients to flavor them. To avoid this problem, look for flavored spirits specifically labeled gluten-free, or buy everyday liquors and flavor them by adding fruit juice and other safe flavorings yourself.
The bottom line? Continue to make sure what’s on your plate is gluten free, but also take special care to make sure what’s in your glass is gluten free as well!
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by Lena B at Mode
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If you recently discovered that you have a gluten sensitivity – don’t panic: you have options. Learn what’s on the market, look into nutrition, check out our spotlights and reviews – make an educated choice!