grains and the gluten free diet

Grains and the gluten-free diet

Grains/Proteins and the gluten free diet

Disclaimer: This article is based and written on my own research and with my own experience in mind. It is not meant to encourage, advocate or endorse a particular lifestyle or diet. It is merely written to create awareness and based on my own personal experience and research with the intention that others may find it interesting and informative. Please do your own research and always speak to the relevant health professional when it comes to making dietary changes in your life.

I found it very helpful learning about the different types of proteins in grains as even on a gluten free diet, one can still have reactions to certain foods. It is with this in mind that I have written this article.


What are grains?

Grains are from the Poaceae family and are broken up into two categories : Whole-grains and refined grains.

  • Whole-Grains : These are grains that contain the bran, germ and endosperm and not much processing has been done to them as these three basic components making up the grain remain intact.

  • Refined grains are processed and are missing the germ and the bran and have a shortened shelf life. They are also much less nutritious than whole grains as the bran and germ are what hold all the essential vitamins and minerals.

Some examples of grains are:

  • Barley

  • Rye

  • corn

  • Wheat

  • Rice

  • Aramanth

  • Buckwheat

  • Millet

  • Bulgar

  • Farro

  • Spelt

  • Oats

  • Quinoa

  • Sorghum

  • Teff

  • Couscous

  • Emmer

  • Freekeh

What are Pseudo grains?

Pseuado grains or cereals are not actually grains. They form a special group on their own. They resemble grains but come from a different plant family. Pseuado means “pretend”. So it is clear why these are given the name pseuado grains. Which of the grains fall into this category?

  • Aramanth

  • Quinoa

  • Buckwheat

Which grains are gluten Free?

  • Corn

  • Rice

  • Buckwheat

  • Millet

  • Quinoa

  • Sorghum

  • Teff

  • Aramanth

What is gliadin?

Gluten is composed of two main proteins – glutenin and gliadin.

Gliadin is a protein known as a prolamin found in wheat and some other grains, including wheat, oats, rye and barley. Since gliadin cannot be extracted from gluten, some people think they have a gluten sensitivity but in fact they have a gliadin allergy. (This article explains it in detail.)

What is Avenin?

Avenin is a prolamin protein found in oats. Oats is naturally gluten free, however it is often grown near wheat or in a field where other grains containing gluten were grown by means of crop rotation. Oats can be processed in a factory that handles other gluten containing grains and it is during the manufacturing process that cross contamination can occur. Therefore when purchasing oats, it is best to look for a certified gluten free label. Oats can be labelled gluten free if the if the gluten levels in the final product do not exceed 20ppm.

Some people can have an allergy to oats or a sensitivity.[1]

If you are on a gluten free diet but still have a reaction to oats, you could have an oat sensitivity and it would be beneficial for you to explore this further.

Why some react to non-gluten grains

After I had been off gluten for about a year and a half, I started to experience the effects caused by leaky gut.[1]

By then, the damage gluten had caused had been done and with the help of trained health professionals, I embarked on my journey to heal my gut. I followed strict protocols (what to avoid and what to do) These were all very necessary and valuable steps toward my recovery, but even once I had implemented these things, I still had various digestive issues. This lead to trying the Low Fodmap diet.

While my gut was still healing, I discovered various food groups or single food items that were slowing down my healing process.

This is due to something termed as Gluten cross-reactivity.

When you have celicac disease, your body produces antibodies [2] against gluten. These antibodies also recognize proteins in other food and even though they don’t contain gluten, you body can react to them as if it did.

In hindsight one can look back and see the effects food has on you. At the time, experiencing various symptoms when eating certain foods that seemed to mimic the reactions I got from gluten,was inexplicable.

 All I can vouch for is my personal experience whereby the following foods definitely had a negative effect on me to some degree (some worse than others). (By react I mean: migraines, brain fog, digestive issues, pain, inflammation)

  • corn

  • whey

  • oats

  • instant coffee

  • yeast

  • soy

  • cooked white rice

  • quinoa

If you react badly to grains, it can be worthwhile exploring it further.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *