With the recent rising interest in keto and gluten-free diets, many wonder if the two are synonymous. After all, the diets do seem similar on paper.
So, is keto gluten free? No, by definition, a keto diet is not necessarily gluten free, albeit the fact that the diet calls for people to limit their carb intake to 50 grams. But, these carbs can come from grains like rye, wheat, and barley – which has gluten.
However, you can make the conscious decision of taking carbs from gluten-free options if you wish to tick both the keto and gluten-free boxes simultaneously. Let’s dive deeper into the topic for a more comprehensive view.
Gluten and gluten sensitivity
Ideally, you should only be concerned about a gluten free diet if you have gluten sensitivity. What is that, you ask? Well, let’s first understand what gluten is.
Gluten is a structural protein found in certain grains, ranging from wheat to rye. The protein works as a binder in keeping the shape of the food intact. Gluten insensitivity or intolerance occurs when your body develops an immune reaction against gluten intake, which exhibits several adverse effects.
Symptoms can include:
- Constipation and diarrhea
- Muscle pain and fatigue
- Weight loss
- Stomach pain
- Headache and brain fog
If you are looking for answers about whether or not is keto gluten free, I am assuming that you, too, suffer from some form of gluten intolerance. If so, you should avoid food that contains it. This includes bread, pasta, cereal, crackers, beers, and soup unless clearly stated that they are gluten-free.
Is the ketogenic diet gluten-free?
A ketogenic diet is not gluten-free unless you want it to be. This is why the clear-cut answer of “is keto gluten free” was a no in the beginning!
The Keto and Gluten Compatibility
Although generally, a keto diet is low on gluten and prohibits the intake of many processed food that are high in it, it is still not completely free from gluten.
This is because most gluten-containing products are high in carbs, which goes against the main requirements of a keto diet. So, on a keto diet, your gluten intake is automatically reduced. And if you are sensitive to it, you can also try to cut gluten completely.
Some of the gluten-free keto-friendly food options are keto bread, eggplant lasagna, cinnamon raisin gluten-free bread rolls, low-carb, gluten-free pizza, etc. These items are made from almond flour instead of wheat.
Tips for living your gluten-free keto life by
Are you looking to follow a gluten-free keto diet and only looking to eat food that is keto gluten free and healthy? Here are some tips that will help you along the way.
- Always read food labels to identify potential gluten in food items.
- Let people know that you are on a gluten-free keto diet, as your eating options will become limited.
- Keep tabs on your carb intake to avoid going out of ketosis.
- Don’t forget to include high-fat content in your diet as well.
Choosing gluten-free ketogenic diet foods
Gluten-free grocery shopping can seem hard, especially when you have to be cautious about the keto limitations.
Here are some ways you can do so.
- Ask the store representatives about where gluten-free food items are.
- Shop in the perimeter of the section for natural, gluten-free items like dairy, meat, vegetables, seafood, etc.
- Check the labels of everything you buy to see their carb concentration. Anything that has a lot of carbs should not be chosen. (You are still doing keto, after all!)
- Research which fruits and vegetables are a no-go in a keto diet.
Look Out! Hidden Gluten
You will be quite surprised by how many items you won’t expect to contain gluten, actually do! I like to call these hidden enemies.
While many know about the gluten present in different grains, seldom do people know that there are various common sources of hidden gluten, including coffee creamers, some ground spices, chips, cold cuts, fish sticks, crackers, hot dogs, imitation seafood, soy sauce, salad dressings, tomato sauce, vodka, etc.
Additionally, just because a certification says that a given item is gluten-free, it can still contain some gluten! As per FDA, food items that contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten can be certified as being “gluten-free” or “without gluten.” Usually, this amount isn’t enough to cause adverse reactions upon consumption.
Preparing gluten-free ketogenic diet meals
Now you know that it is not important whether or not it is keto gluten free, but whether or not you are willing to make an effort to make it gluten free. So, it is time to prepare such meals!
Start by separating your utensils from others if you live with people. This will help in avoiding all sorts of cross-contamination with potentially gluten-containing food items.
Fun Keto-Friendly and Gluten-Free Meal Ideas
Once you have your utensils sorted, here are some ideas for recipes you can try.
- Keto Italian Beef with Cabbage Noodles
- Net Carbs: 6.3 grams
- Ingredients: Ground beef, olive oil, garlic, salt, basil, cabbage, and basil.
- Keto Chicken and Cauliflower Cheese Bake
- Net Carbs: 4.7 grams
- Ingredients: Chicken breast, bacon, cauliflower, olive oil, garlic, cheese, butter, nutmeg
- Shepherd’s Pie
- Net Carbs: 3.4 grams
- Ingredients: Onions, carrots, butter, salt, black pepper, sirloin, garlic, cheese, parsley
The Art of Ordering
Don’t you prefer cooking every single day? Just because you are on a diet doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy eating out. You just need to know your options and how to order them. The best way is to call the potential restaurant in advance to see if they have gluten-free and low-carb options.
Here are some of the food options you will have:
- Shrimp Cocktail
- Lettuce Wrapped Burger (or a keto bun)
- Crustless Pizza
- Breadless sandwich
- Low-carb burrito bowl
Potential challenges of following a gluten-free ketogenic diet
All diets come with their fair share of challenges. And when you try to do two of them simultaneously, things can become more difficult for you. Here are some of the challenges you should brace yourself for.
Limited Food Option
If you are a big foodie, know that you will have to compromise. Many gluten-free fruits and items tend to contain high carbs and hence are not allowed on keto. Similarly, many items that are allowed may contain gluten. Both these restrictions leave a scarce amount of options left to choose from.
Inability to find alternatives
Even though it is hard, the world is progressing toward alternative meat options. But the same cannot be said about gluten-free. If you like the taste of grain or certain items that contain gluten, it is seldom possible to find the same taste in alternative options. So, you will have to bid goodbye to a certain favorite food of yours.
A ketogenic, gluten-free diet is quite expensive. As they are more pricey to manufacture, gluten-free products tend to be sold at a premium, making some of the items inaccessible to those living on a tight budget.
Alternative gluten-free diets
The alternative to going on a ketogenic, gluten-free diet is simply going on a basic gluten-free one. This involves eliminating all sorts of gluten from your life. However, unlike the keto diet, you don’t need to keep your carbs in check. Hence, you can eat many types of fruits that are otherwise not allowed on keto.
You can also combine this diet with veganism, vegetarianism, and Mediterranean. Again, since these diets don’t have carb or fat intake limits and requirements, they are laxer on potential food options.
The benefits of such diets are that it is ideal for those with gluten sensitivity and help promote healthy eating. However, because of the nature of gluten-free diets, you can also become deficient in fiber, Vitamin D, and B12, as well as folate.
I understand that this may seem like information overload. So, let’s summarize, shall we?
Is keto gluten free? Technically it is not, as it doesn’t require the elimination of gluten completely. But you can do so and go on a gluten-free keto diet. This requires thorough research, planning, and preparation. It will also be heavy on your pocket, so be mentally ready.
If you have gluten sensitivity but would also like to experience the weight loss benefits of a keto diet, a customized gluten-free ketogenic diet would be ideal for you to tick off both of your targets. Whether you are doing it out of necessity or interest, best of luck with the challenge.
To learn more about the keto diet, please click on one of the links below: