This question has been popping up lately left and right all over the internet. Is keto gluten free? Is eating gluten on keto diet okay? I’ll answer all the questions you might have about the relationship between the ketogenic diet and gluten free diet in this post.
If you think that going on a gluten free keto diet will help you with weight loss, that may not always be the case. Gluten in itself doesn’t cause weight gain and it doesn’t raise blood glucose. It’s actually the other way around – those who are gluten free may benefit from eating low carb foods since it’s easy to avoid gluten on the ketogenic diet.
Curious to know what kind of a role does gluten play in low carb diets including the ketogenic diet? Read on to find out all you need to know!
The Relationship Between Gluten and Carbs
Glucose, gluten, gluten free, carbs, no carbs… all of this can get pretty confusing. Although there is a relationship between gluten and carbs, it may not be what you think exactly.
Both gluten and carbs are commonly found in high-carb foods like wheat, barley etc. Obviously we can’t eat those on the keto diet. Well, those who have celiac disease and are on a gluten free diet can’t eat them either.
While it is a known fact that carbohydrates impact blood sugar levels, there is no research which supports the claim that gluten affects blood sugar at all. It’s actually the carbohydrates and sugars in a given food that cause insulin spikes, not the gluten itself.
However, it’s important to remember (I find it quite amusing to be honest) there are links between type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. I know diabetes and blood sugar spikes go hand in hand, but that still doesn’t mean gluten affects insulin levels in any way.
Does Keto Mean it is Gluten Free?
Not necessarily. However, most keto diet friendly products are gluten free. Let’s break it down in simple terms.
Keto diet is a low carb way of eating, where one should consume high fats, moderate protein and restrict carbohydrate intake to around 20-30 grams per day. Some of the foods forbidden on a low carb diet are breads, bagels, rice, wheat, grains, crackers and sweets – just to name a few.
Unsurprisingly, all of these foods contain gluten – unless otherwise specified that it’s gluten free. But for the sake of this explanation, let’s just say these foods contain gluten all the time.
Now, gluten is a protein that is naturally found in:
And the list goes on and on. Sometimes, if you’re buying ready made food, those contain gluten too because it can become contaminated during manufacturing. We’re talking here about canned soups, chips, french fries, soy sauce, potato chips, vegetarian meat substitutes and many more.
Is keto gluten free?
Not always. This depends on the approach of the person who is on a low carb diet and how they go about it. For example, some people will not eat a bite of bread at all. Even if doing so probably won’t kick you out of ketosis, some of us on a low carb diet just won’t do it.
Then, we have the IIFYM approach, which is short for “if it fits your macros”. If we get on a low carb diet with this approach, you’ll come across gluten filled products all the time. Those include things such as very low carb tortillas made with wheat, but not enough to kick you out of ketosis.
Same thing goes for keto pancakes, keto diet friendly cake mixes and many more. While those products are keto and low carb, they’re not gluten free products. Those who have a gluten sensitivity might have a serious negative reaction, and even worse if you have celiac disease.
Does Keto Need to be Gluten Free?
No, keto diet does not need to be gluten free. Even if you are on a very low carb diet, keep in mind that not all of the products you may consume are gluten free products.
For example, on keto, you may eat gluten in commercially-prepared broths, cold cuts, some processed cheese, mayonnaise, sausages, salad dressings and soy sauce.
One way to swap these for gluten free keto foods is to use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce, eat raw cheese, make your own homemade broths and avoid cold cuts altogether.
If you love mayonnaise, but you’re gluten sensitive, don’t worry. There are plenty of brands that sell gluten-free mayonnaise. Just look for the more natural or organic kinds and read the labels.
Does Gluten Affect Blood Sugar?
Gluten is a protein which can be found in rye, wheat or barley. Therefore, most of the things that we’re not supposed to eat on keto contain gluten, such as pasta, bread, cookies, cereal, cakes, crackers.
Even foods such as canned soups, chocolates, salad dressings and soy sauce have gluten in them! If you’re following a clean keto diet where you make most of your foods at home and stay away from pre-packaged, processed foods you shouldn’t worry about this much.
While gluten is found in high carb foods, those are the ones that can raise blood sugar levels – not gluten itself. Therefore, even if they food you eat is gluten free, it may still impact your blood sugar and be quite high in carbs.
Can I Lose Weight on a Gluten Free Diet?
There’s absolutely no correlation between a gluten free diet and weight loss. If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, your body does a bad job at nutrient absorption, mainly due to an irritable bowel syndrome which is closely associated to gluten sensitivities.
In fact, once you go gluten free, providing you have issues with gluten, you might even gain a bit of weight at first because your body will finally start absorbing all the nutrients it needs. Although this may seem counterintuitive, this is a good sign!
However, many people who went on a gluten free diet began to eat healthier in the long run. Instead of binging on sandwiches and breads, they begin to incorporate whole foods into their diets and providing their bodies with all the vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy life.
Gluten free diets can cause some vitamin deficiencies as well. Researchers found that products used to replace gluten in foods commonly lack essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients which include:
- vitamin D
- vitamin b12
This is why eating a well balanced gluten free lifestyle is more important than just eating gluten free for the sake of it.
However, if you decide to go keto and gluten free at the same time, I doubt you’ll have any issues with delivering those nutrients into your body. Especially because the ketogenic diet is filled with healthy meats, fish, seafood, eggs, vegetables and nuts.
Gluten-free Vs Keto diet
Gluten free diet means you are avoiding the protein found in wheat, rye and barley. It’s basically what gives bread its chewy texture, which is what a lot of people find comfort in. However, for some people, gluten can cause digestive issues, especially if you have celiac disease or a type of gluten sensitivity.
Gluten free does not automatically mean keto. Some foods allowed on the gluten free diet are fruits, beans, seeds, legumes, corn, oats, kasha and many more – which are not allowed on the keto diet.
There are also many ready made gluten free foods, such as bagels, breads, rolls, tortillas etc. None of these are keto foods, since they can easily kick you out of ketosis due to being high in carbs.
On the other hand, the ketogenic diet is a low carb, high fat diet and its main goal is to put you into a fat burning state of ketosis. You probably won’t produce ketones on a gluten free diet, especially if you don’t monitor your carbs.
While you don’t need to be gluten free to follow the keto diet, some people find that going gluten free makes it easier to stick to their daily carb count and calorie goals.
If you decide to go on a gluten free keto diet, make sure you pay attention to your macro nutrients. Eat foods high in healthy fats, pick low carb products and eat around 20 to 30 grams of carbs per day.
Additionally, watch all labels carefully. Even if a product is labeled keto, it might not be gluten free. Your best bet is to check out the label and see if it might contain gluten.
Same thing with gluten free foods, check how many carbohydrates there are per serving and if there is any added sugar.
Some of our favorite gluten free products are from The Great Low Carb Bread Company and Perfect Keto.
Is Keto Good for Celiac Disease?
I’m sure you’ve heard about this disease before, more and more people are finding out about either having it themselves or their close ones. In simple words, celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where gluten causes an internal immune response where your body attacks your small intestines.
Although people with celiac disease aren’t visibly unhealthy, this is not a disease to take lightly. I know a lot of people call it a “trend”, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Those with celiac disease can have lasting damage to the intestines and block their body from absorbing nutrients. Some of the symptoms include vomiting, weight loss, diarrhea, constipation, migraines, anxiety, failure to thrive and many more.
There is only one way to combat celiac disease or celiac gluten sensitivity – eating gluten free. Although there are many gluten free products available nowadays, they can get quite expensive for the average person.
Some marketing may also be misleading, which can end up doing more harm than good in the long term.
The keto diet is a largely gluten free diet, so there has been a bit of buzz around it lately whether or not it’s just easier for someone to go keto rather than worry about what is and what isn’t gluten free.
But is keto completely gluten free? It depends. While a store bought low carb tortilla might not kick you out of ketosis, there’s an enormous chance it’s not gluten free. Sadly, even a few bites of it might cause an autoimmune reaction within the body of a person who suffers from celiac disease or celiac gluten sensitivity.
In general though, keto consists of mainly healthy fats, meat, fish, eggs, vegetables and nuts which all don’t have gluten unless otherwise specified on nutritional labels. And I say this just to remind you all that, for example, keto friendly foods such as packaged nuts may be contaminated with gluten.
So, should you try the low carb keto diet if you have celiac? I say YES! Especially because gluten intolerance is an autoimmune response and keto is known to reduce inflammation and gastrointestinal issues. It’s a total win win in my opinion.
Keto Recipes for a Gluten Free Diet
We have plenty of recipes that are approved on a gluten free keto diet. To be quite honest with you, most of our recipes are in fact gluten free! Here are several gluten free keto recipes you might enjoy that will not affect your celiac gluten sensitivity:
- Gluten Free Keto Bread – this amazing recipe is a staple in our house! You can make it in 40 minutes and enjoy a low carb friendly, gluten free bread without any wheat flour (or even coconut flour!). One slice is around 1g of net carbs.
- Gluten Free Keto Empanadas – tasty, flavorful and grain free. These gluten free empanadas are made with mozzarella cheese, almond flour, cream cheese and eggs. We stuffed them with ground beef and shredded chicken, but you can add anything you’d like. Plus, they’re only 4g of net carbs per serving.
- Gluten Free Keto Pumpkin Muffins – fall is right around the corner, but we make those no matter the season. With all the right ingredients, eliminating gluten is easy. Remember to use gluten free baking powder and you’re all set, even when it comes to baked goods.
- Gluten Free Keto Pizza Crust – didn’t think that’s possible? Well, this chicken-based keto pizza crust is one of the most popular recipes on our page! Whether you avoid gluten or processed foods, you’ll love this pizza. Plus, you can make it in just under 30 minutes.
- Gluten Free Keto Waffles – enjoy breakfast meals even if you don’t eat gluten! Made with low carb ingredients, these waffles won’t raise your insulin levels either. Make them in around 15 minutes for an easy and quick breakfast meal.
Should You Go Strictly Gluten Free on Keto?
If consuming gluten causes you digestive issues, then absolutely. But first, it’s smart to get it checked out with a medical professional. They are the only ones who will be able to rule out whether or not you have some kind of gluten sensitivity or even celiac disease.
Otherwise, if you’re on keto you’re mostly gluten free anyway! Plenty of keto meals are also gluten free recipes, so there’s nothing you should worry about.
Do you have celiac disease or are you sensitive to gluten? If yes, are you considering keto or already on a low carb diet? Let us know in the comments!
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