Foods That Mimic Gluten

What are gluten mimicking foods?  A lot of research has been done showing that some foods contain proteins that mimic or look like the gluten proteins that can damage the body of those with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.

For a full in depth break down, you can watch the following video.  A short overview is also listed below.

Grains That Are Classically Considered to Be Gluten Free

The following is a list of grains that are commonly used as gluten free substitutes.  Although these grains are considered gluten free by food labeling law standards, they all contain different forms of gluten and have been shown to contribute to persistent health issues for those with gluten sensitivity and celiac disease.what grains are gluten free

  • Corn – Contains a type of gluten protein called zein.  Numerous studies have shown that people with gluten sensitivity have trouble healing combined with persistent disease as long as they continue to consume corn based products.
  • Rice – Contains a type of gluten protein called orzenin.  Rice contains proteins that have been linked to FPIES (Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis) – AKA inflammation of the colon.  Rice has also been shown to be high in several heavy metals, also detrimental to health.
  • Oats – Contain a type of gluten called avenin.  A number of studies have shown that oats are often times cross contaminated with wheat gluten during harvest and processing.  Additionally, studies have also shown that the actual gluten in oats can create an inflammatory reaction in people with gluten sensitivity.
  • Millet – Contains a type of gluten protein called panicin.
  • Sorghum – Contains a type of gluten protein called kafirin.

Pseudo Grains

Pseudo grains are commonly confused for grains, but they are technically not grains at all.  There are three types of pseudo grain, quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth.

  • Quinoa – Studies show that quinoa proteins can actually mimic gluten and create inflammation for those with gluten issues.
  • Buckwheat – a number of studies show that buckwheat production has issues with gluten cross contamination
  • Amaranth – like buckwheat, amaranth cross contamination of gluten can be a major health risk for those with gluten sensitivity.

Can Dairy Mimic Gluten?

Some research shows that the protein, casein, in dairy can actually mimic gluten, and create and inflammatory response.  One recent study found that as many as 50% of those with celiac disease reacted to dairy casein proteins.  Another issue with dairy has to do with the way that it is processed.  Many dairy products are exposed to an enzyme called microbial transglutaminase (I know, that is a mouthful!)  Let’s just call it meat glue.  When dairy is treated with meat glue, studies show that those with gluten sensitivity and celiac disease have inflammatory reactions against it.  You can go here for a more in depth review of the problems with dairy while trying to follow a gluten free diet.

Does Coffee Mimic Gluten?

The short answer is no.  Coffee does not mimic gluten.  The biggest problem with coffee is that many instant brands have added gluten in them.  So the real issue with coffee has to do with added gluten.  If you are using fresh whole coffee beans, you do not have to worry about actual gluten exposure.  That being said, many people struggle with coffee for other reasons.  Because coffee can create symptoms that may mimic gluten exposure, I have attached a more in depth review on coffee here.

What About Foods That Contain Meat Glue?

Meat glue, AKA microbial transglutaminase (AKA mTg) is an industrial enzyme used in food processing.  It is often times used to improve shelf life and food palatability.  Unfortunately this compound does not have to be listed on food labels, because it is considered  a processing aid, therefore escaping the definition of a food additive.  Researchers have identified that this substance can alter gut permeability contributing to leaky gut.  Additionally researchers have identified that foods processed with mTg can create inflammatory reactions in those with gluten sensitivity.  For a more in depth look at meat glue, please read this article.

In Summary

Going gluten free for many is a challenge, especially when the traditional gluten free diet fails to lead to improvements.  Consider eliminating the above foods known to either contain non traditional forms of gluten or mimic gluten.

And if you have felt better avoiding the foods above, let us know by sharing your comments below.

Always looking out for you,

Dr. Osborne – The Gluten Free Warrior

Gluten Free Warrior Commentary

comments

47 thoughts on “Gluten Mimicking Foods

  1. Linda says:

    Reactions to Rice, Buckwheat, Sorghum, & Quinoa over 10 years ago. Became grain free before I ever knew. Thank you for getting this info out!

  2. Colleen says:

    Oh NO! Quinoa has been my ‘go to’ meal! What can I eat that will give me a ‘solid’ feel? Veggies and protein don’t do it…

  3. Connie says:

    Reading The Plant Paradox, and surprised how lectins, similar to glutens, cause health problems. Dairy in U.S. is casein 1 and loaded with lectins. I did remove all grains from my diet, but was shocked what I though I was eating a clean diet, was a diet high in lectins.

    • Andy says:

      Hi Dr Osborne, I was wondering if you would care to comment on lectins in an autoimmune effected person’s diet/ in a “healthy person’s diet
      Thank you A

  4. Linda B says:

    As I read these info pieces I get concerned about what to eat, then I ask myself…why can’t I eat the things others can…..WHAT am I missing in my physiological make up? Is there something I can ADD to give me less reactivity? Are we looking at this from only one angle?

    • Cin says:

      I would agree. We can’t always look from “I don’t have ” perspective. Try healing gut and digestive tract, then bouts with food shouldn’t be as severe.

  5. Elize says:

    Ive been only eating brown rice and have been suffering alit the past 3 months. Not sure if it is the briwn rice. But what else is left to eat. Thankyou fir the information.

    • Sumer Elizabeth Riddle says:

      Brown rice makes my tummy bloated and unhappy. Grain free has made all the difference for me. There are plenty of starchy fruit/veggies to fill the void. Plantains, potatoes ,sweet potatoes, yam, cassava, bananas.

      • Kathi says:

        I agree with Sumer. There are lots of healthy choices to replace grains. The winter squashes are excellent as well as rutabagas, which I roast in the oven like fries! So yummy! Also,Green Giant now has a frozen combo of cauliflower and sweet potatoes. Add a protein and you have a lunch or dinner! Awesome!

      • Ki says:

        Yes, green bananas! Boiled…works as potato sub. Sliced green and dehydrated…then made into a flour…resistent starches so healing for the gut!!

  6. Ann says:

    I still don’t know if wild rice is safe to eat on a gluten free diet. So, does anyone know for sure, there is conflicting advice on the web.

  7. wahba says:

    Dr, could you please tell what basically my celiac daughter can eat? is sweet patatoe ok? is rice ok? Should she stay away from corn?

    cheers
    wahba

  8. Tom Belisle says:

    Dr. Osborne, it seems to me that the only way to know if a gluten free diet is working is to have a follow up endoscope test done after being on a gluten free diet for a year. I’m going to ask my doctor.
    Thanks
    Tom Belisle

  9. Patty Nixon says:

    Dear Dr. Osborne,

    My functional doctor put me on a supplement that is rice-based with antioxidants called “UltaClear” by Metagenics (I am highly intolerance to pea based protein so couldn’t go that route). The container states “gluten-free” but I know we are talking about “mimicry” here. Are you familiar with this product and do you think that the rice protein in it (the products just lists “rice protein…15 g) would be problematic for me pertaining to gluten mimicry?

    Thank you very kindly,

    • Kate Osborne
      Kate Osborne says:

      Patty,
      With rice, we are not talking mimicry, we are talking about an actual form of gluten called orzenin. You can look at a chart on glutens in grain on the bottom of this page.
      I would highly discourage anyone with a gluten sensitivity issue to consume rice. Ask you doctor for an alternate product. Rice is a very big problem in the supplement industry, but I have met with several major manufacturers personally, and hope to have this potential problem remedied soon!
      All the best,
      Dr. O

      • Patty Nixon says:

        Dear Dr. Osborne,

        I so appreciate the time you have taken to respond Dr. Osborne. Any chance you know of a protein power with vitamins and minerals (not pea based as highly intolerant) in place of the rice based protein my functional doc has me on as I had had the argument with her on the rice previously (since the naturopath has had me the AIP diet) but she did not know an alternative so told me to stick with the rice. ☹️ Wondering if there is anything I might inform her of as an alternative…our time always appears limited during appointments and I want her to think I am working with her (versus going against her). If not, perhaps just a good multivitamin in place of?

        Thank you again!

        Pattt Nixon

  10. Yaakov says:

    BS’D
    Wow thanks for this Dr Osborne. Happy to know it’s not my imagination & not only me; corn, millet, quinoa & amaranth & sometimes rice, hit my gut like wheat. Buckwheat I can eat limited amount before it hits me as well.

    BTW because of the microbial transglutaminase in many dairy productsit’s good to get only those with the more stringent kosher supervision, because then even a small amount of a meat by-product is forbidden to be in it.

  11. Tracy says:

    I do eat rice but all the other grains and grain substitutes (and milk products) Dr. Osborne mentions cause me grief, also legumes and oats. I am also allergic to peanuts, coconut, hazelnuts, and nutmeg. I research every packaged product I buy to identify whether they also sell nut or grain based items, to limit risk of cross contamination.

    I have a solid healthy diet and for the first time in years am having to take measures to lose weight.

    Fresh/frozen meats and vegetables, flax and psyllium for fiber (carefully sourced, I grind the flax myself), a simple gluten free bread mix and (occasionally) rice.

    It’s difficult to wrap your head around, especially if you are as stubborn and unaccepting as I am, but eliminating foods that cause your body grief is an iterative but worthwhile process!

  12. Zaytuna says:

    Thanks for this valuable information. I am trying to go glutenfree because of Hashimoto sikness. I believe that cheese should be caseinfree, is it right? Where could I read more about lectines?

  13. Casey Hibbard says:

    Really helpful article, Dr. O. It makes more sense now why grain-free diets are advised. I happened to catch one typo in the story that you might want to fix…”Rice has also bee shown to be high in several heavy metals, also detrimental to health.”

  14. christene hartley says:

    I have celiacs and MTHFR (HOMO) I was advised to go on a diet of meat n veg nothing in a packet can nothing processed and absolutely no grain about 2 mth s ago im 64 and finally feel *good
    Chrisene

  15. Pam Nicholas says:

    Hello Dr. Osborne
    I cannot digest coconut milk or coconut oil but have no problem with avocado or olive oil. What is it in coconut that my body cannot break down? I have had in the past had trouble digesting cocoa butter as well. Am I lacking certain enzymes to break dowm fats?
    Also I cannot eat eggs. Is this because of the grains that are fed to the chickens?

    • Kate Osborne
      Kate Osborne says:

      Pam,
      You may be allergic to coconut and eggs. It is hard to know without accurate testing. I can answer this question in a lot more detail, if you ask it on Monday night during the Pick Dr. Osborne’s Brain Show on my Youtube Channel. Make sure you subscribe to get notified when we are on the air and live for QnA.
      All the best,
      Dr. O

  16. Scissorhands says:

    What about guar gum? I’ve been reacting strongly to that.
    I has some coconut ice cream which uses plant gums [used to thicken and stop separation] and was constipated and sick.
    Do plant gums mimic gluten? Gum is like glue?

  17. Sara Tamames says:

    Hi! Thank you for your work about gluten sensitivity. It has been very enlightening for me!

    I was on a standard gluten-free diet for years and still experiencing increasing gut damage until I figured out I was reacting to rice and even rice cross-contamination. I believe I react very strongly to any gluten-like protein.

    By that point, my digestive system was so damaged I had to eliminate all kinds of seeds because I couldn’t digest them anymore.

    Now I’m recovered and I’ve been able to add some nuts and seeds to my diet.

    I would like buckwheat to be part of my diet because there are many organic snacks containing buckwheat.

    From what I understood, if buckwheat is free from cross-contamination it should be safe, right?

    It does not contain any gluten-like protein?

  18. Matlane says:

    If you look into Paleo recipes or AIP autoimmune protocol- they avoid all grains- so TONS of recipes out there! I love Against All Grain by Daniel Walker. She has like 4 books- even a Celebrations one with good classics. Meals made simple one is super easy and flavorful. Websites/ facebook groups like Unskilled Cave Woman and many others. I use just dont buy packaged stuff a lot. There are cassava chips and tortillas out there- that is how I stay feeling normal and not deprived. Also Plantain chips in coconut oil- not bad oil are a good crunch/ dip alternative too. Sweet potatoes can be filling if you need starch.

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