Gluten-Free Alcohol: What's Safe vs. What's Not
For many people with Celiac disease and non-Celiac gluten sensitivity, alcohol is the final frontier. You may already have a good handle on avoiding gluten in your food, but when it comes to drinks—especially beers and other grain-based alcoholic beverages—it can be difficult to tell what's safe and what's not.
This blog post will look at the basics of gluten-free alcohol, from differentiating between beer styles to understanding labeling laws. We'll also cover some tips for navigating the world of gluten-free drinking safely and deliciously. Read on to learn more!
What is gluten-free alcohol?
All alcoholic beverages are safe for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. These include spirits such as vodka, rum, tequila, wine, and cider. However, beer is not typically considered gluten-free because it is made with barley, which contains gluten.
Some people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities can tolerate small amounts of gluten in their diets. This is known as the "tolerance threshold." For these individuals, drinks like beer may be safe to consume in moderation.
It is important to note that the tolerance threshold can vary from person to person, so it is always best to speak with a doctor or dietitian before consuming alcohol if you have concerns about your health.
What are the different types of gluten-free alcohol?
There are many types of gluten-free alcohol, including:
- Wine: All wine is gluten-free, as the gluten proteins are removed during fermentation.
- Spirits: Most spirits are also gluten-free, except for some flavored vodkas and whiskeys that may use wheat or barley-based flavoring agents.
- Beer: There are now many gluten-free beers on the market made with alternative grains such as sorghum, rice, or buckwheat.
- Hard cider: Cider is naturally gluten-free and made from apples. However, some brands may add flavorings or other ingredients that contain gluten. Be sure to check labels before purchasing.
Which alcohol is safe for people with celiac disease?
Celiac disease is a severe autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive system. People with celiac disease cannot eat gluten, a protein in wheat, barley, and rye. This can make it challenging to find safe alcoholic beverages, as many beers and wines are made with gluten-containing grains.
Fortunately, several alcoholic drinks are safe for people with celiac disease. These include most hard liquors, as well as gluten-free beers and wines. Here is a more detailed list of safe alcohols for people with celiac disease:
- Hard liquors: vodka, gin, rum, tequila, whisky/whiskey, bourbon
- Gluten-free beers: Redbridge, Estrella Damm Daura, Green's Discovery Amber Ale, New Grist Pilsner
- Gluten-free wines: Cavit Pinot Grigio (white), Beringer Founders' Estate Chardonnay (white), Joel Gott 805 (red)
While many safe options are available, it's important to remember that everyone's tolerance to gluten is different. Some people with celiac disease may be able to drink small amounts of beer or wine without experiencing any symptoms, while others may have a severe reaction even to trace amounts of gluten. If you're unsure whether you can tolerate alcohol made with gluten-containing grains, it's best to err on the side of caution and avoid it altogether.
How to make sure you're drinking safe gluten-free alcohol
When you're diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, one of the first things you have to give up is alcohol. Gluten is found in many types of alcohol, including beer, wine, and liquor.
However, some alcoholic beverages are secure for those with celiac illness or gluten intolerance. Here's a guide to help you make sure you're drinking safe gluten-free alcohol:
Wine: Wine is made from grapes, which do not contain gluten. However, some wines may be processed with wheat starch or gluten-containing ingredients. To ensure that the wine you're drinking is genuinely gluten-free, make sure to read the label.
Beer: Beer is made from grains, which do contain gluten. However, some brands of beer are now offering gluten-free options. Make sure the beer you're drinking is gluten-free by checking the label.
Liquor: Liquor is usually made from distilled grains containing gluten. However, some brands of liquor are now offering gluten-free options. Make sure the alcohol you're consuming is genuinely gluten-free by reading the label.
Although avoiding gluten can be difficult, it doesn't have to prevent you from enjoying the occasional alcoholic beverage. With many options available for those following a gluten-free diet, you can enjoy a drink or two worry-free.
From beer and cider to wine and spirits, plenty of safe choices will help satisfy your craving for a cold one! Always check labels when looking for gluten-free alcoholic beverages so that you don't accidentally consume something with hidden wheat sources. Cheers!