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.

  • 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 bee shown to be high in several heavy metals, also detrimental to health.
  • 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.

Gluten Free Warrior Commentary


17 responses 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. Linda B says:

    I have eaten a lot of quinoa and rice…I am coeliac….no obvious reaction. Can’t eat potato though! Or dairy.

  6. 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!

  7. Helen says:

    Yes Dr. Osborne. All of them you mentioned

  8. 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.

  9. 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?


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