Milk is one of the most widely used, nutritious, and versatile products to use and carries many benefits. So, is milk gluten-free?
Typically, milk is gluten-free in its natural form. However, some brands add ingredients and other flavors that may contain gluten or acquire gluten through cross-contamination. Therefore, it is crucial to inquire about the product’s label to determine whether it is gluten-free.
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Milk provides one of the most nutritious fluids in the world. It is estimated that people have been consuming milk from goats, sheep and cows for over 10,000 years.
Individuals are introduced to milk soon after birth. Many individuals proceed to consume milk their entire lives. Besides taking raw milk, many food products incorporate milk in their recipe.
Cow's milk is commonly used because it is cheaper than the rest of the milk and is readily available to most people. Milk provides a significant source of nutritional energy because it contains nutrients such as proteins, healthy fats, vitamins and other vital nutrients.
In addition to that, milk can be taken with many food products, snacks for instance, making it a versatile product that will fit in different food settings.
Most individuals prefer consuming milk before bed, while others prefer consuming it with snacks, bread, and other related snacks. Mothers also prefer feeding their kids with milk because it contains many nutrients that help their growth and development.
About Celiac Disease
If you have celiac disease, the only viable scientific way of management is to follow a gluten free diet. It is even better if you are able to choose foods which are naturally gluten free. This is because they tend to favor someone with celiac disease.
Whereas celiac disease is the main condition with gluten sensitivity, there are other closely related medical terms for this. These include gluten intolerance. And like celiac disease, these foods will require you to adhere to gluten free food.
Beyond Celiac, an organization dedicated to the management of celiac disease, defines non celiac gluten sensitivity as a case where one manifests symptoms for celiac disease, but tests negative for the same.
People with all these conditions have one thing in common- they should avoid taking foods with gluten. For example, instead of taking foods made from wheat, one may consider modified food starch which will be safe for someone with gluten sensitivity.
At the center of this is the need to avoid gluten grains. Similarly, the consumption of Italian food such as pasta should follow gluten free pasta.
By all means, a person with gluten sensitivity must follow a strict gluten free diet. Celiac disease patients need to be overly careful on further exposure to gluten in order to avoid health complications in the future.
Is Milk gluten-free?
Typically, milk, one of the major dairy products, does not contain any nutrient known to have gluten peptides. Therefore, in its pure and natural state, milk is gluten-free and by taking this common product, you are taking milk gluten free.
For example, chocolate milk, many of the varieties of chocolate milk are gluten free and therefore safe for someone with gluten sensitivity. Many other milk brands simply do not have gluten, and people with celiac conditions can simply consume them.
However, some milk products are known to contain gluten. Consequently, it is ideal for checking the product's label to determine if there is gluten.
Additionally, with the increase in milk processing brands worldwide, some brands want to become unique from others by adding flavorings and other ingredients that may contain gluten. An excellent example of the type of milk to avoid is malted milk because it contains gluten.
Is Milk Safe for People with Celiac Disease?
Even though milk is gluten-free in its pure form, it is not safe for individuals with celiac disease. This is because recent studies have shown that people suffering from the disease are likely to lose the enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose present in milk leading to secondary lactose intolerance.
The main reason for the loss or reduction of lactase enzyme in individuals having celiac is due to the harm that gluten does to their small intestines. The small intestines can be very delicate, and constant harm can lead to harsh health consequences.
Therefore, people suffering from celiac are advised to take lactose-free and gluten-free milk to allow their guts to repair.
The good news is that when people with gluten sensitivity give up taking foods with gluten, the repair starts, and they can heal without lasting damage being left behind.
Milk Alternatives for Celiac Individuals
Since individuals with celiac disease have a risk of taking gluten-free milk due to secondary lactose intolerance, it will not be safe for them to consume milk. Fortunately, they can consume different milk alternatives that lack lactose and still enjoy the same flavor or texture.
The following are some of the milk alternatives to consider:
If you want to retain the taste of milk but are gluten and lactose-intolerant, then lactose-free milk is a suitable alternative. Typically, lactose-free milk is produced by adding lactase enzymes to the cow's milk.
Therefore, apart from lactose, the milk will have the same flavor, texture and vitamin content as regular milk.
Almond milk is an ideal alternative because it is gluten-free and does not contain lactose. Almonds are toasted ground and blended with water to make almond milk. Many of the commercial brands of almond milk are gluten free.
Additionally, it is a good source of proteins, vitamins and minerals. While almond milk is gluten-free, it is still advisable to check whether the brand of almond you are buying contains gluten. This is because some brands add color, flavors and ingredients that may contain gluten.
Coconut milk is also popular milk that is suitable for individuals who are following a dairy-free diet. This is because it is made from coconut liquid containing no gluten.
Coconut milk is available as light and whole-fat coconut, where light coconut milk is used for drinking while full-fat coconut milk is used in baking and cooking.
However, since not all brands have been certified to make gluten-free coconut milk, it is advisable to check the ingredients or any information confirming that the product is gluten-free. Some companies are keen to label their products as gluten free.
Cashew milk is an alternative solution for individuals with celiac and gluten allergies because the milk is extracted from nuts. Apart from their lack of gluten, the milk contains a high quantity of healthy monosaturated fats that helps to lower fats in the body.
Additionally, its flavor makes it flexible to be consumed alone or in different dishes. Therefore, when buying cashew milk, ensure it is certified to be gluten-free to avoid adverse side effects if you have any gluten problems.
Oak milk is a dairy and gluten-free milk produced by soaking oats in water and then waiting for at least 12 hours before draining the mixture.
One of the most significant advantages of oat milk is that you can use it in the same ways as regular milk. However, since oat is likely to get gluten through cross-contamination, checking for any gluten information before buying oat milk from different brands is ideal.
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