Gluten Cross Reactors – Are Coffee, Cheese, and Chocolate Gluten Free?

Posted On: June 19, 2018

Today’s medical practitioners have been more easily able to recognize the malady of gluten intolerance in many individuals. Because symptoms of gluten intolerance were many and varied (and not always associated with digestion), it wasn’t always so easy to discern.

The most common symptoms of gluten intolerance include bloating, abdominal pain, frequent diarrhea, lethargy, headaches, weight loss, depression, anxiety, and autoimmune disorders.

From the list of symptoms above, it can be easy to see why gluten intolerance was and still can be hard to diagnose. Many of the symptoms can be related to a whole host of other illnesses, and you might go on consuming foods containing gluten for long periods of time if not properly diagnosed.

Even if you do discover gluten intolerance and start eliminating gluten from your diet, you might still suffer symptoms if you consume gluten cross-reactive foods.

What Are Gluten Cross-Reactive Foods?

Gluten cross-reactive foods are foods that do not actually contain gluten, but do contain proteins that your body may mistake for gluten and act similarly. The resulting symptoms of eating gluten-cross reactors can be just as bad as symptoms from eating a meal containing gluten.

This may leave you questioning certain foods. Some of the most common gluten cross-reactive foods include anything belonging to the dairy family, because a protein found in dairy, casein, is very similar to the protein in gluten, gliadin. There are also non-dairy gluten cross-reactors that cause symptoms for which you may not easily connect the dots.

Is There Gluten in Chocolate?

does chocolate have gluten?

After experiencing symptoms similar to those of gluten sensitivity or intolerance, you may wonder – does chocolate contain gluten? There is no gluten in chocolate, but it is considered a gluten cross-reactive food. If you are feeling gluten symptoms after embarking on a gluten-free diet, perhaps chocolate is the culprit.

Also, keep in mind that while there is no gluten in pure or unsweetened chocolate, some types of chocolate bars may contain gluten. These include candy bars containing extra ingredients in the form of wheat or barley malt, which is often used as a sweetener. There is always the chance of cross-contamination in the factory.

Is Coffee Gluten Free?

is coffee gluten free?

There is no gluten in coffee, but once again, this is a gluten-cross reactive food. Highly processed coffees may produce more symptoms than regular coffee. Organic, whole-bean coffees tend to be much safer, leading researchers to believe it is the processing that causes the problems.

Adding dairy, such as milk or creamer, to the coffee can also cause issues since dairy products are common gluten-cross reactive foods.

Is There Gluten in Cheese?

does cheese have gluten?

Speaking of dairy, let’s not forget cheese! There is no gluten in cheese most of the time, but some brands may be made with wheat starch or modified food starch that comes from wheat. Most cheese products are gluten-free, but you should always check the food labels just to be safe.

Other Gluten Cross-Reactors

Other types of foods to be wary of if you still have gluten symptoms include:

  • Amaranth
  • Corn
  • Eggs
  • Hemp
  • Millet
  • Oats
  • Potatoes
  • Rye
  • Rice
  • Sesame
  • Spelt
  • Sorghum
  • Soy
  • Teff
  • Yeast

It is entirely possible that some of the gluten cross-reactive foods will affect you. If you are uncertain, try eliminating each one from your diet for a short time to see if there is any change. A common method of doing this is through the FODMAP diet. You can find FODMAP explained in one of our informational posts.

You can also opt to purchase foods that are gluten-free, such as the line of delicious, organic frozen meals from Beetnik Foods. Many of the meals are also suitable for anyone on the paleo diet, and especially suited for anyone health conscious seeking to eat healthy and organic.


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