Plant-based gluten free milks and everything you need to know about buying them

Which plant-based milks are gluten free?

I asked this question a lot when I first went gluten free, especially when considering what milks my two boys could have because they had a secondary lactose intolerance when their non-coeliac gluten sensitivity was at its worst.

Over the years I’ve come back to this question and asked myself again and again which plant-based milks are gluten free? I had to! Because new brands have hit the stores and old brands have changed their recipes and may contain warnings, meaning it became necessary to check regularly so that I could keep up to date with what milks were safe for us as we changed to gluten free living, and now, for you too, as a reader of my gluten free blog.

Most plant-based milks are gluten free naturally, but manufacturing methods often change this. Brands that certify their plant-based milks as being gluten free are guaranteed to be so, while other plant-based milks may not carry a gluten free label but are naturally gluten free instead, as determined by having no gluten ingredients listed and no may contain warning for gluten.

Plant-milks which are naturally gluten free are considered safe to drink by most who follow gluten free diets, given that companies are expected to place a may contain warning for gluten if there is any risk of cross contamination during the manufacturing processes.

That said, it’s actually NOT a legal requirement (in the UK, anyway) for a product to have a may contain warning for gluten. I know that sounds mad, and a bit frightening too given the day and age we live in but it’s the truth and there are reasons for this being so.

If you want to find out more about this hot topic of plant based milks and their gluten free status –
check out the rest of the article below!

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    Always Check Ingredients Labels for Allergen Information
    before consuming a product.

    This is important in case there are changes in
    manufacturing since the date of publication of this article.

    It’s also a good idea in general, especially if you have allergies rather than intolerances/sensitivities to certain ingredients to check ingredients labels before consuming a product.

    Does all milk contain gluten?

    Although there are a lot of processed milk products these days which contain gluten in some form, that just isn’t the case for a lot of milks, be it plant based or cows milk. The problems usually arise from manufacturing methods, if at all, and so it’s important to be aware of what to look out for when trying to determine if a milk is in fact, gluten free.

    As a general rule, all milks are naturally gluten free. However, manufacturing methods can cause cross-contamination of gluten in store-bought milks, meaning the product will carry a may contain warning for gluten. If milk has no gluten ingredients listed and no may contain warning for gluten, then it’s considered gluten free by most. The exception is oat milk, which is guaranteed gluten free only when it has been certified gluten free.

    Which plant-based milks are gluten free?
    Which plant-based milks are gluten free?

    Here’s another article on this topic you might like:

    Is there Gluten in Nut Milks?
    (Find out exactly which ones are gluten free!)

    Is Alpro milk gluten free?

    Alpro milks are probably one of the most popular for those living gluten free or vegan, vegetarian lifestyles, wouldn’t you say? I know for me that they were the first brand I started buying from for my boys when they were young and couldn’t drink cow’s milk, because they had their delicious “growing up milk” in soya form, which (even today at nearly 8 years old) is my twin boys all time favourite plant-based milk.

    But lot’s of people ask whether every Alpro milk is gluten free, and I have some clearing up to do in answering that question.

    Every Alpro milk is certified gluten free, apart from all of their oat-based milks. Products that are gluten free from Alpro includes all soya, rice, coconut, almond, cashew and hazelnut based milks, in all varieties, sizes and flavours of each.

    With regards to Alpro’s oat based drinks, they don’t use gluten free oats and so of course there’s a chance of cross-contamination of gluten in all of Alpro’s oat-based milks, making them unsuitable for those following a gluten free diet or with Coeliac/Celiac Disease.

    You might also enjoy this read:

    Which Oat Milks Are Gluten Free?

    What milk is best for coeliac’s?

    There isn’t a one size fits all answer to this question and that’s because it’s much better to choose a milk based upon your bodies needs and of course taking into consideration any other medical conditions, sensitivities or allergies. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to consider the following things.

    As a general rule, newly diagnosed Coeliac’s may benefit from consuming a non-dairy based milk because secondary lactose intolerance is common in those with Coeliac Disease due to the damage to the gut from gluten exposure prior to diagnosis. Once your gut has healed following a gluten free diet, however, dairy milks can be reintroduced if desired, and enjoyed alongside the non-dairy milks.

    Other points to consider when choosing the best milk on a gluten free or coeliac diet is your age and nutrient needs.

    A child for example will require more calcium, fat and protein for adequate growth than if they were fully grown, and so it’s important to look at the nutrient values per ml on each milk product you buy, to ensure these things are present in the right quantities for your child.

    And this is key because every single plant based milk or cows milk product will have different nutritional values!

    A good resource for finding out what daily intakes of different nutrients are necessary for your child at different ages is this page from the American Heart Foundation.

    Which plant-based milks are gluten free?
    Which plant-based milks are gluten free?

    Which milk is best for gluten intolerance?
    (non-coeliac gluten sensitivity)

    Much like the previous section about what milk is best for those with Coeliac/Celiac Disease, having non-coeliac gluten sensitivity and choosing the best milk works in essentially the same way.

    I’d recommend finding a milk which fits in with yours or your child’s nutritional needs, whilst accomodating any secondary intolerances and allergies you/they may have.

    As mentioned in the previous section, this resource from the American Heart Foundation provides daily nutrient intake recommendations for people under 18, so if you’re choosing a milk for your child this resource will be super helpful in picking one which has the right nutrient values in it per ml.

    As a general rule, the best milk for gluten intolerance (non-coeliac gluten sensitivity) will be one which provides the specific individual with the right nutrients per ml according to the individuals age and health status, whilst also accomodating any additional intolerances or allergies to ingredients other than gluten.

    There is no one size fits all answer, hence why I like to make the previous point clear when choosing a milk. It really does come down to picking a milk which suits YOU or your child as an individual.

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      Can I eat a gluten free product if it’s not certified gluten free?

      As previously noted, it’s expected that companies note ANY potential risk of a product coming into contact with any of the major allergens, including gluten, therefore it’s highly unlikely that a company wouldn’t include such a warning, given that they are expected to do their due diligence to give consumers as much information as possible.

      Most would say it is fine to eat a product that is naturally gluten free, and has no may contain warning for gluten, but it would be helpful to keep a food diary in case you notice any brand-specific symptoms in the days following eating the product. In which case, it may have traces of gluten in and you may choose to avoid that product in the future.

      My motto is to trust brands I know and have tried before, and when introducing new items I find, I note how I feel over the next few days to see if there’s any differences. If there was anything, I might consider not eating that product again but then if I feel fine, I generally go back to that brand and product again and again without issues.

      I’d suggest trying the same and keeping a food diary if you’re concerned.

      Here’s another one I think you’ll enjoy:

      Which Recipe Box Company is Best
      When You’re Gluten Free?

      Which plant-based milks are gluten free?
      Which plant-based milks are gluten free?

      Is it a legal requirement to include a may contain warning for gluten?

      I hope one day to see that there’s a legal requirement for companies to state a may contain warning for gluten, but we’re not there yet (in the UK at least).

      All in all though, most people, including myself, have zero problems consuming products that are naturally gluten free.

      (NO gluten ingredients listed in the ingredients section of the product and NO may contain warning for gluten either, that is)

      I think it’s better to trust in companies doing their due diligence to include any risks on an allergen statement of a product than it is to live your gluten free life worrying about getting exposed to gluten at every meal.

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        Which Pastas are Gluten Free?
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        Gemma Hartshorn

        Gemma is a mum to twins with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity and has been living a gut-health focused life for many years herself. She has 5 years adult nursing experience in the UK and achieved a distinction in her Diploma of Higher Education in Healthcare from Oxford Brookes University. She is currently completing a BSc in Health Science and has a keen interest and knowledge of all things gut health. Listen to her Gut Be Good podcast or join her on the Gut Be Good youtube channel for more insights, sharing and helpful information on all things gut health related alongside her website here. Contact Details: Unit 80366, PO Box 6945, London, W1A 6US

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