Is Keto Gluten Free? (It Might Not Have To Be)

Celiac disease is a real headache to manage because you’ll need to avoid many of your favorite foods. But is keto gluten free?

blueberry muffins on a cutting board next to a bowl of blueberries

Not necessarily.

This post will go through everything you need to know about keto and gluten-free diets. I’ll discuss if all keto products are gluten-free, what you should look out for and if keto helps manage celiac disease.

Is Keto Gluten Free?

Keto and gluten-free are quite similar, but they aren’t the same.

Keto focuses on removing all carbs while increasing fat intake to trigger ketosis. During ketosis, our bodies use ketones for fuel instead of glucose. This offers health benefits like:

  • Weight loss
  • Lower blood sugar and insulin levels
  • Reduced risk of developing chronic conditions like diabetes

But some keto products, especially bread and baked goods, sometimes use gluten as a stabilizer. So when eating these bread, doughnuts, and cakes, you won’t knock yourself out of ketosis, but you’re still consuming gluten which upsets your stomach.

The opposite is also true. Just because a food is gluten-free doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Quinoa, rice, oat and buckwheat are all fine on a gluten-free diet. But they have a GI score of over 50, meaning they spike your blood sugar and insulin as high as table sugar.

What Are The Differences Between Keto And Gluten-Free?

We’ve covered that not all keto products are gluten-free while gluten-free foods aren’t necessarily healthy. Now let’s look at some key differences.

pumpkin pancakes sliced with a fork

Keto Focuses On Lowering Carbs To Under 5% 

We remove almost all carbs from our diet and replace them with quality fats and proteins on keto. Common foods you’ll find in a keto diet include:

  • Fatty cuts of meat
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Dairy products
  • Vegetables

These foods boost your body’s ketone production. Studies show ketones improve brain power, increase energy levels and even reduce your risk of developing serious ailments like Alzheimer’s and heart disease.

But even if you’re getting all these benefits on keto, if you eat low-carb products that contain gluten, you’ll feel the side effects.

When eating a gluten-free diet, you’re not experiencing any of these benefits. Most gluten-free diets still contain rice, gluten-free bread, quinoa and other foods that knock you out of ketosis.

You’re Still Spiking Inflammation When Eating Gluten-Free

Gluten-free products may still contain carbs, sugars, preservatives and other forms of additives. So if you’re eating these processed foods regularly, you’re still triggering inflammation, making it difficult to get healthy.

But with keto, you focus on avoiding carbs and not triggering inflammation. This is an essential difference because inflammation is a significant factor behind most chronic diseases.

Your body triggers inflammation in response to a threat. It helps prevent injuries from becoming fatal and infections from spreading. 

But if you’re eating processed foods that your body perceives as threats, you’re always in this fight or flight mode, causing long-term damage.

So although you’ll be able to manage celiac disease with a gluten-free diet, you’ll still trigger inflammation by eating high-carb processed foods. Here is a study that outlines the pros and cons of a gluten free diet for people with celiac disease.

What Are The Similarities Between Keto And Gluten-Free?

The biggest similarity between the two diets is that they’re proven to prevent, manage and heal multiple chronic ailments.

Gluten-Free May Heal Skin Rashes, Allergies, And Other Health Issues

You avoid wheat allergy symptoms like diarrhea, fatigue, nausea and constipation on a gluten-free diet. 

But in the book Toxic Staple by Anne Sarkisian, you’ll also find stories of patients healing issues like:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Cystic acne
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Allergies 
  • Depression
  • Brain fog

The biggest reason why people clear up so many health problems on a gluten-free diet is that 95% of people that’s gluten intolerant remain undiagnosed. 

Even if you aren’t gluten sensitive, a 2012 study conducted in Brazil found gluten-free diets to lower body fat, weight gain and insulin resistance.

Keto Prevents And Manages Diabetes, Obesity, And Certain Cancers

A ketogenic diet also offers health benefits to many groups of people struggling with:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Certain types of cancers

Because your body uses fat as its primary fuel source on keto, it’s much easier to lose weight. Also, you aren’t eating many carbs, lowering your insulin levels. And since insulin is the fat storage hormone, weight loss becomes easy.

The lower insulin level offers another benefit. It makes diabetes management simpler because you become more sensitive to insulin.

Several studies show that a keto diet helps manage fatty liver disease, epilepsy and even certain cancers. 

Full loaf of keto banana bread

Combine Keto And Gluten-Free For The Best Results

Why not use keto and gluten-free diet principles to manage celiac disease while staying in ketosis and lowering inflammation.

Doing this is straightforward. You can stay gluten-free while being in ketosis. Simply avoid high-carb foods and stay away from keto baked goods that may contain gluten.

So you aren’t just managing your celiac disease but feeding your body with foods that reduce your risk of diseases like diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. You’ll also notice you feel more energetic, and brain fog is a thing of the past.

I suggest eating foods like:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Organic vegetables
  • Dairy products like cheese, cream and butter

For a more comprehensive list read our keto shopping list article. You also want to stay away from processed foods, even if it’s gluten-free or low-carb. Most low-carb breads are filled with gluten while gluten-free products often contain over 100 grams of net carbs.

Let’s cover what to look for when buying gluten-free keto products.

What Should I Look Out For When Buying Gluten-Free Keto Products?

When buying groceries that are both keto-friendly and gluten-free, it’s best to stick to whole foods. This way, you can make tasty yet healthy gluten-free keto recipes. However, if you’re looking for something to get rid of sugar and carb cravings, use these tips when shopping.

Third-Party Certification

A third-party certificate is the first thing to look for when shopping if you’re managing celiac disease. 

When a brand receives this certificate, the product goes through extreme testing. These third parties do ingredient analysis, frequently plant testing, plant audits and even off-the-shelf product testing. 

A company that sells products with this label is guaranteed to be gluten-free. However, it doesn’t make it keto-friendly, and you’ll still spike blood glucose and insulin. So it’s vital to check what ingredients they’re using.

Certain Harmful Ingredients

When reading product labels, watch out for ingredients like:

  • Oats
  • Yeast
  • Sweet potato
  • Soy sauce
  • Wheat
  • Tapioca flour

All these ingredients contain high levels of gluten and carbs, so you must avoid them at all costs. Sometimes you’ll find labels with durum, farro or spelt. These are all alternative names for wheat.

Also, look for anything that’ll kick you out of ketosis like potato starch, modified food starch, high-fructose corn syrup and table sugar. 

Instead, it should use whole foods like egg yolks as a stabilizer, coconut flour as a base and natural sweeteners for extra flavor. Some of the best sweeteners are stevia, monk fruit extract, xylitol and erythritol.

The Number Of Carbs

But the main thing to look for when shopping for gluten-free and keto products is the carb count. 

It doesn’t have to be zero carb, but it should have less than 10 grams of carbs per serving. Our body goes into ketosis when restricting carbs to under 30 to 50 grams per day. So eating more than 10 grams of carbs in one sitting will affect ketosis.

Vegetable Seed Oils

When following gluten-free recipes, avoid vegetable seed oils like canola, soybean and sunflower oil since they are highly toxic ingredients. It might not lead to gluten sensitivity or knock you out of ketosis, but it triggers inflammation leading to different types of chronic disease.

It takes 98 ears of corn to make five tablespoons of corn oil. So a long, industrial process is dedicated to taking oil out of these tiny seeds. Manufactures heat and bleach vegetable oils several times, causing them to go rancid. 

Another problem with these oils is that it oxidizes quickly. This oxidation process releases by-products like aldehydes that are toxic to humans.

Instead, opt for healthier alternatives like coconut oil, lard or avocado oil.

Some of our favorite gluten free products are from The Great Low Carb Bread Company and Perfect Keto.

Can A Keto Diet Manage Gluten Sensitivity?

A low-carb diet is an effective tool for managing celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, given you avoid products that contain gluten. It also promotes weight loss, lower insulin levels, and a reduced risk of developing several chronic diseases.

Once you overcome the keto flu, you’ll notice a sustained boost in energy and brainpower.

Final Thoughts On A Gluten-Free Keto Diet

The keto and gluten-free diet shares many similarities. And although most keto foods are gluten-free, some keto breads still use gluten as a stabilizer, which can cause unwanted symptoms for those with celiac disease.

Also, many gluten-free foods like rice and quinoa contain carbs and have a high GI score. This will trigger inflammation while spiking blood glucose and insulin levels.

So try implementing principles from the keto and gluten-free diet for the best results. Eat keto foods like fatty cuts of meat, organic vegetables, eggs and fish while avoiding low-carb bread that uses gluten.

is keto gluten free

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