People with gluten sensitivity need to avoid gluten-containing foods. Is rice gluten-free? Can someone on a gluten-free diet eat most kinds of rice?
Rice is naturally gluten-free, so you won’t have to go out of your way to find gluten-free rice the way you find gluten-free bread. Most rice available in stores, including medium grain rice, organic rice, brown basmati rice, purple rice, and sweet rice is gluten-free.
I often eat rice even though I am on a gluten-free diet. Most rice contains no gluten. However, flavored rice sometimes contains ingredients with gluten.
Is Rice Gluten Free?
Generally speaking, rice is gluten-free. Even a person who is on a strict gluten-free diet can usually eat rice without problems.
However, some rice, such as flavored rice mixes, may contain gluten. Not all rice is gluten-free. There are some common rice mixes you should avoid if you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Is Rice Gluten-Free if it’s Plain?
Yes, plain rice is gluten-free. It is flavored rice that often contains gluten. Any of the following kinds of rice are safe for people with gluten sensitivity:
- White rice
- Brown rice
- Basmati rice
- Jasmine rice
- Red rice
- Sprouted rice
- Black rice
Flavored Rice Mixes to Avoid
Some common flavored rice mixes definitely contain gluten. These include Uncle Ben's Flavored Rice, Rice-a-Roni, Knorr Rice Sides, and Near East Rice Pilaf.
Many other products besides those contain gluten. Read the ingredients or look the product up online. Only plain unflavored rice is likely to be gluten-free.
Many rice products contain thickeners such as hydrolyzed wheat protein. These thickeners often contain gluten. There is also gluten in many flavor enhancers added to rice.
Are There Safe Flavored Rice Mixes?
Yes, some flavored rice mixes are probably safe or completely safe on a gluten-free diet. Since so many people avoid gluten, gluten-free foods are relatively easy to find. Several excellent companies make flavored rice mixes.
Lundberg might be your first choice for flavored rice without gluten. Their food is excellent and many of their flavored rice mixes are gluten-free.
Try their organic sesame rice, organic turmeric rice, or soy and ginger rice first. They are tested to contain less than ten parts per million of gluten.
Not all of Zatarain's flavored rice is gluten-free. Many of their products contain gluten. However, they still offer an excellent selection of gluten-free rice products.
Zatarain's offers 20 different rice mixes that are certified gluten-free. To count as gluten-free, there must be less than 20 parts per million of gluten in the product. 20 ppm is so low that you will be fine even if you have gluten sensitivity.
Most of Mahatma Rice's products are gluten-free. Try their long grain and wild rice mix, cilantro jasmine rice, spanish rice, or red beans and seasoned rice. Some of their other products are not gluten-free, so check the label first.
Alter Eco is a great company because they produce heirloom varieties of rice. Heirloom grains and vegetables are often tastier than modern varieties, but they are not as efficient to farm. Anyone who compares heirloom tomatoes to common modern ones knows that heirloom foods can taste quite noticeably better.
Many of their products are gluten-free. Try their Khao Deng Ruby Red rice, Hom Mali Jasmine Rice, and Thai Sticky Purple Rice. Those varieties are certified gluten-free.
Does Sushi Rice Contain Gluten?
A lot of the time, it does. Sushi rice is served with vinegar, which may be made with wheat or corn and contain gluten. You can ask for plain white rice instead of sushi rice.
Gluten-Free Prepared Rice Dishes
You don't have to miss out on prepared rice dishes if you have gluten intolerance. For example, you can make delicious spanish shrimp paella entirely with gluten-free ingredients. It is easy to make your favorite rice dishes gluten-free.
Celiac Disease vs Other Gluten Sensitivity
Some people have celiac disease and should avoid gluten completely. Other people have non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which is less serious. If you have non-celiac gluten sensitivity, you may be able to have a small amount of gluten.
What is Glutinous Rice?
Despite its name, glutinous rice is gluten-free. The word “glutinous” refers to the rice becoming sticky after it is cooked, not to its gluten content. Glutinous rice is a completely gluten-free food.
Is Brown Rice Gluten Free?
Yes, brown rice is gluten-free. All colors of rice are gluten-free, there is only gluten if the rice has other ingredients that contain gluten.
If you have celiac disease symptoms after eating rice, check the ingredients. If there is no gluten, something else might be the problem. You might be sensitive to things other than gluten.
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is an allergy to gluten. If you have celiac disease, a small amount of gluten may trigger an immune system response in your intestine.
If this happens too many times, it can weaken your intestine and prevent it from absorbing nutrients as well as before. This will lead to other health problems if it continues. You may get diarrhea, lose weight, feel tired all the time, or become anemic.
However, it is still possible to be healthy if you have celiac disease. Go on a gluten-free diet and take it seriously. This will cause the immune system reactions to stop and allow your body to heal.
How Common is a Gluten-Free Diet?
Gluten-free diets are common. A person does not have to have celiac disease to go on a gluten-free or low-gluten diet. Gluten can be bad for your gut health even if it does not trigger an immune reaction.
In the United States, about 4% of people avoid gluten completely and another 10% limit their gluten intake. In the UK, at least 10% of people are on a low-gluten diet.
Most of these people do not have celiac disease. Only about 1% of people have that condition in the UK. Gluten can be bad for your gut lining even if you do not have celiac disease.
What is Cross Contact?
Cross-contact is where one food is accidentally mixed with another. For example, a person with a severe peanut allergy might end up in the hospital from eating food that contains a minimal amount of peanuts.
They might have to avoid food that is processed somewhere where foods containing peanuts are processed. Even if you have celiac disease, it is not usually necessary to be that careful to avoid gluten. It is enough to stick to gluten-free foods.
If you are worried about cross-contact, get rice from Lundberg Family Farms. Lundberg only processes rice, so there's no risk of it being mixed with other foods that contain gluten. Gluten-free rice is easy to find, and you can get gluten-free soy sauce and other gluten-free flavorings.
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