Is Rice Gluten-Free or Not?

Reviewed on 9/22/2021
is rice gluten-free or not
Rice is gluten-free. However, rice mixes that contain thickeners and sauces that contain gluten should be avoided if you are on a gluten-free diet

Rice is gluten-free. This includes all unseasoned rice, such as white, brown, long grain, short grain, etc. However, rice mixes that contain thickeners and sauces that contain gluten should be avoided if you are on a gluten-free diet.

What is a gluten-free diet?

Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley, rye, oats, and triticale and acts as a natural glue that helps maintain the shape of certain foods such as bread.

gluten-free diet is a nutritional plan that strictly excludes gluten. Some people develop an intolerance to gluten, such as people with celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and transient post gastroenteritis gluten sensitivity

For people with these conditions, consumption of foods containing gluten can cause distressing symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, fatigue, etc. When someone with celiac disease eats gluten, their immune system attacks and damages their small intestine lining, causing the gut to lose its ability to absorb nutrients into the bloodstream. 

A gluten-free diet can reduce symptoms and allow the digestive tract to heal. However, if you are healthy and don’t have a gluten sensitivity, you don’t need to follow a gluten-free diet unless advised by a doctor or nutritionist.

What foods are gluten-free?

Examples of gluten-free foods include:

  • Meat products: Unprocessed meat, fish, chicken, bacon, ham off the bone, frozen or canned meats
  • Dairy products: Full-cream, low-fat, evaporated and condensed milk, fresh cream, yogurt, processed or block cheese and some custards, ice creams, soy milk
  • Fruits and vegetables: Fresh, canned, juiced, or frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, peanuts, chia seeds
  • Gluten-free baking products: Corn (maize) flour, soy flour, lentil flour, rice, rice flour, rice bran, potato flour, sorghum, breakfast cereals made from corn and rice (without the malt extract from barley), polenta, psyllium
  • Gluten-free bread: Rice crackers, corn cake, rice crispbread, corn tortillas, packaged bread labeled gluten-free, packaged pastries labeled gluten-free
  • Gluten-free pasta and noodles: Gluten-free labeled pasta, rice noodles
  • Condiments: Jam, honey, maple syrup, cocoa, all vinegar except malt vinegar, most tomato pastes, some sauces and salad dressings
  • Snacks: Plain chips or corn chips, unflavored popcorn
  • Drinks: Water, full-cream and low-fat milk, fruit and vegetable juices, tea, coffee, wine

Are there downsides to following a gluten-free diet?

A gluten-free diet is not for everyone. Unless you have a diagnosed wheat allergy or gluten sensitivity, cutting out gluten may do more harm than good. It is important to consider the following facts about gluten-free foods:

  • Often not fortified with supplements, such as iron and folic acid
  • Have a higher carb content and lesser fiber content compared to conventional foods
  • Tend to be more expensive than regular foods

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References
Celiac Disease Foundation. Gluten-Free Foods. https://celiac.org/gluten-free-living/gluten-free-foods/

Beyond Celiac. The Gluten-Free Diet. https://www.beyondceliac.org/gluten-free-diet/overview/

Medline Plus. Learn About Gluten-Free Diets. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000813.htm

Harvard Health Publishing. Ditch the Gluten, Improve Your Health? https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/ditch-the-gluten-improve-your-health

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