Granola is a popular bite beloved by millions. It’s delicious, nutrient-rich and highly versatile. But is granola free?
Granola is considered gluten-free. But, this is only if it contains pure, uncontaminated oats and other gluten-free ingredients. Also, there’s the risk of gluten cross-contamination. So, if you are buying granola, make sure you only buy certified gluten-free granola if you have gluten sensitivity.
Our goal is to provide people on a gluten-free diet with information that will help them to make better, safer and healthier food choices. We share this information through tried and tested recipes and informational guides. And, all the information that we share has been put together by our team of certified health coaches, nutritional experts and other industry professionals. We can therefore promise our readers that the information on our platform is top-notch, highly trustworthy and the best out there.
Granola is a popular delicacy, enjoyed by millions across the country. Besides being delicious, granola is also highly versatile. You can enjoy it as a breakfast option, a quick bite in between meals, a light office lunch or simply a bite on the go. It is one of the most convenient bites for snacking or for breakfast.
Furthermore, granola is packed with healthy nutrients, which may explain why you will find it everywhere and anywhere you go. You can enjoy granola alone or with drinks like milk or yogurt, depending on your preferences.
Granola is a high fiber food. The benefit with such foods is that they make one feel full, and one ends up eating less. This helps one to effectively achieve weight loss objectives.
Granola plays an important role in preventing disease. It contains vitamin E and antioxidants, and they help in reducing and preventing the inflammation of the body. In particular, the antioxidants prevent cell damage, and this helps in preventing medical conditions such as cancer.
In terms of taste and texture, granola is primarily sweet and crunchy. But, there are hundreds of granola brands out there and you will be spoilt for choice. So, what you will get will depend on the ingredients the specific brand uses.
A Recap of Gluten
Gluten is the main protein found in cereals and grains like barley, wheat, spelt and rye. However, you can also find it in the by-products and hybrid products of these cereals. This naturally-occurring protein gives dough its elastic, stretchy texture.
Also, several types of processed foods have gluten, as either an additive or an ingredient.
And, most people can comfortably eat gluten-based foods or dishes with gluten-containing ingredients, without experiencing any issues. In fact, studies show that more than 90% of the global population doesn’t experience any complications after eating gluten.
However, the remaining percentage experience gluten-related complications after eating anything with gluten. This group of people has either celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Others will have gluten intolerance. Still, others will experience symptoms of wheat allergy.
And, if you have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease and you happen to eat gluten, you will end up suffering from several complications. These complications can range from intestinal issues, diarrhea, bloating, mouth ulcers, constipation, fatigue, hives, and itchy eyes, among others.
Much as celiac disease may not be fatal, you should not let it deteriorate. Exposure to gluten for a long time can lead to far-reaching consequences such as severe damage to the small intestines. In rare cases of extreme symptoms of celiac disease, one may require surgery.
So, gluten-sensitive individuals and those with celiac disease have to strictly follow a gluten-free diet. We also need to point out that there’s no cure for gluten intolerance. Thus, this condition can only be managed, and this is done through choosing the right food and avoiding gluten.
While you can manage the symptoms, the only way to stay away from the complications is to follow a gluten-free diet your entire life. This will require a high level of discipline on your side.
Does Granola Have Gluten?
Is granola gluten free? As we’ve highlighted above, if you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you can only avoid its severe complications by avoiding gluten foods and foods made with wheat flour.
In short, you have to be extremely careful of what you eat and you should stick to a gluten free diet.
So, if you’ve been recently diagnosed with a form of gluten intolerance, you may be probably wondering, is granola gluten-free? Is granola naturally gluten-free? Is granola safe for individuals with gluten intolerance? Can you eat granola if you are on a gluten-free diet?
To answer the above questions, we first need to determine the ingredients used to make this popular snack. Oats are the main ingredient used to make granola. And, oats are naturally gluten-free grain. Thus, by using gluten free oats, people with celiac disease can safely take granola.
Other ingredients used to make oats include dried fruits, nuts, honey, vanilla extract, maple syrup, peanut butter and pumpkin seeds, just to name a few. And, all these ingredients are also gluten-free, and by taking granola, you are taking gluten free granola.
For example, vegan granola, one of the most common types of granola, is gluten free, and therefore safe for consumption for someone with celiac disease.
However, some manufacturers may also add other ingredients like flavorings, designed to enhance granola’s taste and flavors. And unfortunately, some of these ingredients may contain gluten grains like barley and wheat.
Therefore, we can conclude that granola is gluten-free, but only if the ingredients used are all gluten-free.
The Risk of Cross-Contamination
While granola made from pure oats is considered gluten-free, there’s always the risk of cross-contamination with gluten-containing grains and you might end up with granola gluten.
As you may probably know, most farmers grow oats together with other gluten grains like barley, wheat, rye and spelt. And, there’s a high possibility that the oats will be contaminated with gluten when grown together with these gluten-containing grains.
Also, oats can be cross-contaminated with gluten if it’s harvested, stored, processed or packaged using the same equipment and facilities used for gluten-containing grains and cereals. Therefore, safe granola is made from certified gluten free oats.
The process of preparing a gluten free granola recipe can also be compromised. For example, you may be using knives that you used on foods with gluten. Again, preparing the granola mixture can be vulnerable to contamination.
How to Buy Gluten-Free Granola
While granola is considered gluten-free, some of the ingredients used to make it may contain gluten. Also, there’s a cross-contamination risk with gluten if it’s grown, harvested, stored or processed in the same facilities used to handle gluten grains.
So, if you are on a gluten-free diet, how do you ensure that you only buy gluten-free granola? Well, the only way to ensure that you get gluten-free granola is by purchasing certified gluten-free granola.
Therefore, whenever you are buying granola, check the product’s label for gluten-free certification. Products bearing this certification have been tested and certified as being 100% gluten-free.
With the right consumer discretion, you will not have a problem to find gluten free granola and specific gluten free granola brands. Again, the gluten free industry has been growing exponentially, and you are going to have a lot of options to choose from.
If the market cannot give you the type of granola that you want, then you can consider making your own granola. Through preparing your own granola, you will make it according to the specification that you desire.
If you use the right process, homemade granola can be as tasty as the commercial one,and you can prepare it the way you want.
About THE AUTHOR
James Parker has a Masters degree in Sustainability with a focus on land management, permaculture and regenerative agriculture. He also has experience managing sustainability projects, and is passionate about conservation and sustainability.Read More About James Parker