Coeliac Sanctuary

Gluten Free Eateries, Blogs, Recipes. Reviews and more...

Three Things About Gluten Free Diets Coeliacs Don't Always Understand

There are a few bits about Coeliac that is often misconceived including whether gluten free wheat starch is safe and what vinegars are fine. In this blog we aim to give you a little more info on these misunderstandings.

Tagged with:

Added 13th September 2017

Updated 13th December 2020

Three Things About Gluten Free Diets Coeliacs Don't Always Understand
There are a few things I see in the Coeliac world that so often causes confusion so I thought I would try and set a few bits straight regarding barley malt extract and gluten free wheat starch, these are the ones I see asked about so often over social media.

Gluten Free Wheat Starch
If I got a pound for every time I heard "how can it be gluten free if it has wheat in it" I would be living in the Bahamas by now. Gluten Free doesn't mean Wheat Free. Wheat Free does not mean Gluten Free. Do not assume otherwise. Gluten free wheat starch has the gluten removed and is strictly monitored to make sure it falls within the Codex guidelines which is below 20 parts per million in the UK, so yes it is gluten free even though it has wheat in its name.

Juvela, one of the most trusted prescription brands, have been making bread with gluten free wheat starch for many years, made specifically for Coeliacs. I think that is enough to prove that it is safe for Coeliacs, don't you?!

It would be worth noting that if you do have a wheat allergy as well as Coeliac, gluten free wheat starch is not for you! Wheat in the ingredients is still highlighted in bold for this reason, as it's an allergy on its own.

Barley Malt Extract
The amount of times I see something with barley malt and have to question whether it is safe for me is unbelievable, never mind to someone who is new to Coeliac. This one has to be the most confusing of them all. Is it gluten free? Sometimes. Can you always tell by the packet if it is safe? No.

The most common place for confusion on this one is in cereal, most supermarket home brands use barley malt extract in flavourings some of these home brands have been deemed gluten free through testing others haven't and unless you are a member of Coeliac UK with access to their food directory or contact manufacturers directly is isn't possible to know by looking at the packet if it is safe. I suggest using caution when it comes to barley malt extract, unless you have checked the cereal is safe, don't assume it will always be at "safe" levels for a Coeliac, the amount present is dependent on how much is used and how much it has been processed.

Vinegar
Another one that causes a lot of confusion which is related to barley is, barley malt vinegar. ALL vinegar is gluten free when it comes to UK guidelines. When going through the fermentation process the amount of barley that makes it through to the end product is very small and falls under the 20 parts per million guidelines which deems it safe for Coeliacs. Whether it is straight from the bottle or in a product if you see Barley Malt Vinegar in bold in the ingredients it is safe for Coeliacs however it is still displayed in bold because barley is an allergy in itself so has to be highlighted.

I'm sure there are other things that Coeliacs get confused by but those are the main three I see almost every day, I hope this helps clear a few bits up!

Your Comments

Search Blogs

Sign up to our newsletter

You might also like...

Does Heat Destroy Gluten?

In short yes gluten can be destroyed with difficulty but at heats HIGHER than chip shop fryers

Gluten Free Event at 70 Marks and Spencer Stores

Marks and Spencers are holding a gluten free event in 70 of there stores during May

Gluten Free Special Buys in Aldi August 2018

For the second time in 2018 Aldi have gluten free special buys including cake mixes, biscuits and more

My Coeliac Story

Since it's Coeliac Awareness Week, it is a good week to share my Coeliac story for the first time. Take a read now.

New Asda and Tesco Free From Products September 2017

September 2017 sees Asda and Tesco release some new gluten free products into their fridges and freezers

Sweetpea Pantry Super Duper Brownie Mix | Product Review

Sweetpea Pantry brownie mix is slightly different to every other brownie mix made with teff and flaxseed

Banana's History of Coeliac

The diagnosis method of Coeliac and gluten free food have both improved over time, initially started with the Banana Diet cure eventually turned to the exclusion of gluten

September Supermarket Free From Product Releases

The majority of supermarkets released new products this month including pizzas, pies, sausage rolls and cheesecake.

May Contain Russian Roulette

Do you eat a product if it has a may contain gluten warning on it?

Wow Cake Company Carrot Cake Mix | Product Review

We review gluten free carrot cake mix by Lancashire based company, Wow Cake Company