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.

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