- Bacon is considered naturally gluten-free
- Bacon may contain additives and flavorings with gluten
- There’s a risk of bacon gluten cross-contamination
- Look out for certified gluten-free bacon if you are on a gluten-free diet
Bacon is loved for its delicious and unique taste, combining salty and buttery flavors while being a great source of animal protein. But is bacon gluten-free?
Bacon is considered naturally gluten-free. However, some types of bacon contain flavors and additives, which may have gluten. Also, bacon may be cross-contaminated with gluten. So, if you are on a gluten-free diet, check whether the bacon has been certified gluten-free before buying.
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A Primer On Bacon
One of the most common products derived from a pig is bacon. Bacon is one of the most loved foods in the world and the market offers many bacon brands. Many communities in the world eat bacon and it may have slight local adaptation.
Besides being extremely delicious, bacon is also highly versatile. You can enjoy it alone or serve it with almost any other dish, whether it’s during breakfast, lunch or dinner. Others like it with peanut butter, tomatoes, or sandwiches. Whichever accompaniment you choose, you are going to enjoy bacon.
Bacon carries a plethora of benefits. These include managing hangovers, managing certain medical conditions, and bacon carries high water retention capability. Also, it’s a great source of animal fat and protein.
You can serve it together with eggs for breakfast, use it as a topping for burgers, or even add it to your chocolate desserts, to give them that savory and sweet flavor. There are more than a dozen ways of preparing it also, depending on your preferences.
So, how is bacon made? Well, pork belly is the main ingredient used to make this delicacy. Other added ingredients include pepper, salt, spices, nitrates and smoke flavor. Besides pork bacon, you may also come across chicken, beef and turkey bacon.
Some of the other types of bacon that you can find on the market include slab bacon, Canadian bacon slices, smoked bacon, buckboard bacon, Irish bacon, speck, peameal bacon, guanciale, Chinese bacon, pancetta, szalonna, uncured bacon and streaky bacon, just to name a few.
The quality of bacon depends on the breed of the pig, what the pig eats, and the way of preparing the bacon. If bacon is prepared and stored in the right way, it can last for a long time. Another thing that matters is the health of the pig and the medication it has taken in its lifetime. The healthier the pig, the better the bacon.
You can shop for bacon which will last you as much as two weeks in the refrigerator. This will give you ample time to bring in a fresh supply should you need it.
Gluten occurs naturally in several kinds of cereal belonging to the grass. Some of the cereals from this family that contain gluten include barley, wheat, farro, spelt, durum and rye. Gluten is also found in triticale, another cereal in this family, which is a hybrid of rye and wheat.
And as its name suggests, this glutinous substance helps to keep the grain and maintain its shape. It also gives some food products texture.
The majority of wheat, barley and rye products or products with these grains as ingredients will contain gluten since you can’t separate it from the grain.
Therefore, you can expect to find it in breads, crackers, soy sauce, breakfast cereals, malt beer, muffins, doughnuts, cakes, waffles, pies, pancakes, wheat pasta, and various types of noodles, just to name a few.
What Does Gluten Do?
Most people can tolerate gluten without any issues or complications. But in others, eating anything with gluten can trigger an undesirable autoimmune response as well as a combination of other adverse symptoms.
For instance, if you have celiac and you consume gluten, it may cause inflammation in the small intestines. Also, the small intestines may no longer be able to absorb nutrients from the foods you are eating, leading to unintentional weight loss.
People with non-celiac gluten intolerance and gluten sensitivity will also experience symptoms like chronic abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, hives and skin rash, fatigue, anemia and anxiety, among others.
Currently, there’s no known treatment for gluten intolerance, gluten sensitivity and celiac disease.
Avoiding gluten products and sticking to a gluten-free diet is the only available option for people suffering from these conditions. Therefore, one must be keen to check on foods which are certified gluten free. Seeking the opinion of the doctor becomes very important when making decisions on food.
Does Bacon Have Gluten?
If you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease or any other form of gluten allergy, then sticking to a gluten-free diet is your only option. You will have to make careful diet choices and you must stick to gluten free brands and gluten free products.
And, if you are looking to try bacon for the first time, there may be questions running through your head such as; is bacon gluten-free? Does bacon have gluten? Can you eat bacon if you are on a gluten-free diet? Can bacon be considered one of the gluten-free products?
The good news is that bacon is considered naturally-gluten free since the ingredients used to make it are gluten-free. Thus, when you consume bacon, you are consuming bacon gluten free.
Bacon Gluten Cross-Contamination
As much as bacon is considered gluten-free, this may not be the case with every type of bacon that you come across out there. Just like other products, there’s a possibility of gluten cross-contamination.
For instance, if bacon was processed in the same facilities that handle gluten-containing products, then such bacon may contain gluten, albeit in small amounts.
Another thing that determines if bacon is gluten free is the knife used, and if it has been in contact with gluten products. For example, you can cut triple smoked bacon with a knife that has been in contact with gluten, and your bacon will not be gluten free, and the same thing applies to thick cut triple smoked bacon and extra thick cut triple bacon. .
Whichever the case, such bacon may not be safe for people with celiac disease and those with severe gluten intolerance.
How To Buy Gluten-Free Bacon
While bacon may be considered gluten-free, it may also contain traces of gluten, if processed in facilities that also handle gluten-containing products. Also, some bacon may contain additives and flavorings, made using gluten-containing ingredients.
So, the only way to ensure that you purchase gluten-free bacon is by reading the ingredients list on the packaging. Check whether the bacon is certified gluten-free or not.
You can also look out for gluten-free bacon brands. The most renowned gluten-free bacon brands include Armour Bacon, Beeler’s Pure Pork Bacon, and Farmland Foods Bacon.
Other gluten-free bacon brands include; Bob Evans Bacon, Great Value Sliced Original Bacon, Turkey bacon gluten free, Applegate Hickory Smoked Bacon, Boar’s Head Bacon and Hatfield Bacon, among others.
If you purchase bacon from any of these gluten-free bacon brands, you can rest assured that it will not only be gluten free but the quality will be outstanding.
In the rare case that you are not able to find gluten free bacon, then, think of making yours at home. Making your own bacon is a simple process. Moreover, you will be able to choose the type that you want including sugar bacon.
About THE AUTHOR
I have over a decade of experience in food and beverage management, including a ServSafe food safety qualification. As part of this qualification, I have been professionally trained in safe food storage.Read More About Mark Walker