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I know wheat is the common problem when avoiding gluten, but what about other grains, like barley, rye, or oats?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Note that wheat is a type of grass, and is technically a grain.

Grains without gluten

Not all grains have gluten—only those closely related to wheat do. Grains which do not have gluten include:

  • Corn (maize) and its variants or derivatives such as cornmeal, polenta, hominy, or masa
  • Rice (all varieties)

    A note on rice: some varieties are called "glutinous". This just sounds similar to "gluten", but is in fact used to indicate the rice's stickiness. Glutinous rice does not have gluten, not even as traces, its stickiness comes from a special type of starch.

  • Millet

  • Sorghum
  • Oats (although many oat products are processed in plants that may have had wheat)

Sometimes confused for grains

Note that the following gluten free seeds are not grains, although sometimes they are confused for grains:

  • Wild rice
  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat (despite the name, not a wheat nor a grain)
  • Amaranth

Non-grains used as gluten-free starches and flours

Therefore, all grain-like, starchy, or flour-type foods which are not grasses are always gluten free, including wild rice, quinoa (despite any other issues), and so on.

Additionally, flours or seeds based on non-grain seeds, nuts, and legumes are always gluten free, although there may be other dietary sensitivities. These include:

  • Almonds
  • Soy beans
  • Peanuts
  • Chickpeas
  • Mesquite flour
  • Amaranth
  • Quinoa
  • Wild rice

Finally, starches and flours based on roots, rhizomes, and so on are gluten free, including:

  • Potato
  • Sweet potato
  • (True) yams
  • Tapioca

Grains containing gluten

The following grains are all wheat relatives, and have gluten to a greater or lesser degree:

  • Wheat
  • Spelt
  • Rye
  • Tritical
  • Barley
  • Kamut

Note that the following are all processed wheat products or specific wheat varieties, and should be avoided to maintain gluten free diets:

  • Farina
  • Durum
  • Semolina
  • Couscous

See also:

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Oats are gluten free if they are totally free of contamination with other crops previously grown in the same fields, they are specially labelled and are a lot more expensive than regular oats. –  user23358 Feb 21 at 17:08

This is a very good resource regarding the basics of a gluten-free diet.

A friend of mine was gluten-free and he ate a lot of quinoa and rice - however quinoa has come under fire recently. There is a lot of information and recipes online, and depending where you live, there's likely a few people you can speak with for recommendations about what to eat and how to eat it if you're thinking of going gluten-free.

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