Are Ancient Grains Gluten-Free?

Are Ancient Grains Gluten-Free?

There are a wide variety of grains that are considered “ancient grains,” and while some are naturally gluten-free, others are not gluten-free.

Gluten-Free Ancient Grains
  • Amaranth
  • Millet
  • Sorghum
  • Teff
Ancient Grains That Contain Gluten
  • Barley
  • Emmer
  • Freekeh
  • Kamut
  • Spelt
  • Farro

False rumors about ancient grains have been circulating on the Internet. These incorrect statements are claiming that all ancient grains are safe for those on a medically necessary gluten-free diet. According to these myths, those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity can tolerate ancient gluten-containing grains, like freekeh, kamut, emmer and spelt, but this is simply not true. Researchers recently put this rumor to rest; a 2013 study found that exposure to wheat, whether from an ancient grain or not, still launches the autoimmune response seen in people with celiac disease.

As with all naturally gluten-free grains (like amaranth, for example), it is important to purchase amaranth that is labeled or (preferably) certified as gluten-free. Similar to oats, naturally gluten-free grains like amaranth can come into contact with gluten-containing grains during the milling and distribution process. If you see a gluten-free grain listed in the ingredients on a food label, it is important to ensure that the company is using labeled or certified gluten-free grains.


More on Farro

Farro is not gluten-free. Farro is a term used to describe three traditional wheat species: emmer, spelt and einkorn. Unfortunately, none of these species are gluten-free as they all are different names for types of wheat.

Traditionally used in Italy and Europe, farro is often added to soups, salads, pilafs, or eaten on its own. When eating out, be careful to look for additions to these dishes, as servers or even some chefs/cooks may not be aware that farro contains gluten.


<< See more frequently asked questions about the gluten-free diet

 

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