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Are Sodas Gluten-Free? Find Out If This Soft Drink Is Gluten-Free In 2024

Donald Romeo

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Melissa Mitri, MS, RD

are sodas gluten free
Fizzy soda is a refreshing carbonated beverage. Photo: Ba Le Ho

Are sodas gluten-free? That’s the question on many minds, especially if you have celiac disease or are following a gluten-free diet plan. With gluten-free products popping up everywhere, from meal delivery to protein powders, knowing what’s in your soda is more than just a curiosity—it’s essential. 

This article is your guide to the fizzy world of soft drinks on a gluten-free diet. We will answer the question, what sodas are gluten-free? We’ll explore the common ingredients, uncover any hidden gluten, and suggest some of the healthiest teas as refreshing alternatives.

Is There Gluten In Soda?

No, most sodas are considered gluten-free, especially those produced in North America. However, some imported sodas might contain caramel coloring derived from gluten-containing grains. 

Always check the labels or consult the manufacturer’s website to ensure that a specific brand and flavor meet gluten-free standards.

Are Sodas Naturally Gluten-Free?

If you’re avoiding gluten[1] due to celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or other reasons, you might wonder if sodas are naturally considered gluten-free. And the answer is Yes! Most sodas actually are.

Sodas are typically made from ingredients like carbonated water, sweeteners, and flavors without gluten. But some additives in sodas could come from gluten-containing grains.[2] So, if you’re indulging in a soda, be cautious of potential gluten traces.

Even if your soda is gluten-free, consume sodas in moderation to maintain a heathy weight. There’s a link between soda and weight gain.

Are There Any Sodas That Contain Gluten?

Most sodas are considered gluten-free, but watch out for certain additives. 

One additive sometimes derived from gluten-containing grains is caramel coloring. It can be made from malt syrup,[3] which comes from barley. But it’s usually made from corn syrup,[4] which is gluten-free. There might be rare cases of imported sodas using caramel color from wheat or barley malt, but this should be labeled as containing gluten. 

What Is Soda Made From?

Here are the main ingredients found in soda, all of which are usually considered gluten-free.

Carbonated Water

Carbonated water is the bubbly base of all sodas and is simply water infused with carbon dioxide gas. It’s what gives soda its delightful fizz and pop.

Sweeteners

From classic sugar to high fructose corn syrup, sweeteners give soda its addictive sweetness. For those watching their sugar intake, zero-calorie, zero-sugar sweeteners like stevia or aspartame might be used in diet versions.

Flavorings

Flavorings range from natural fruit extracts like cherry or vanilla to more exotic combinations like coffee caramel. Cream soda might contain vanilla and butter flavoring, while root beer flavors are often a blend of spices and herbs.

Acids

Citric, malic, or phosphoric acids are often added[5] to give soda its tangy bite. It balances the sweetness and enhances the overall flavor.

Caffeine

Many sodas contain caffeine[6] for that extra kick — from classic colas to energy drinks. If you’re following a caffeine-free diet, check the ingredients list for added caffeine and opt for caffeine-free alternatives. Watch out for caffeine in coffee-vanilla flavored sodas.

Colors

Caramel coloring is commonly used[7] to give colas their signature brown hue. Other sodas might contain artificial colors to match their flavor profile, like red for cherry or green for lime.

Preservatives

To keep soda fresh and flavorful, preservatives[8] like sodium benzoate[9] might be added. They help prevent the growth of microorganisms and maintain quality.

Emulsifiers And Stabilizers

These ingredients help maintain the consistency and appearance[10] of the soda. They ensure that the flavorings and colors are evenly distributed throughout the beverage and don’t separate.

How To Tell If Your Soda Is Gluten-Free

Most of the major soda brands in stores do not have gluten-free labeling even though they are actually considered gluten-free. This is because of the voluntary regulations set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.[11] 

Many soda brands prefer not to go through the hassle of testing, so they opt not to use the label. But if you examine the ingredients closely, you’ll discover that most soda brands in the United States are indeed gluten-free sodas.

If your soda contains caramel coloring, it could be derived from barley[12] — a gluten-containing grain. However, the caramel coloring in North America usually comes from corn or table sugar, rather than gluten sources. If there’s a risk the soda contains gluten ingredients, it should be labeled in the allergens statement.

Be cautious when it comes to imported sodas from countries like Australia or Europe. Some of them may contain caramel color derived from wheat or barley malt. 

Healthier Gluten-Free Alternatives To Soda

Add these healthy alternatives to your gluten-free soda list:

  • Herbal Teas: Perfect for those on a zero-sugar, caffeine-free diet, herbal teas come in a variety of flavors that are all considered gluten-free.
  • Fruit-infused Water: Create your own flavor combinations with berries, citrus, or other fruits. 
  • Coconut Water: Naturally hydrating and considered gluten-free, it’s a tropical treat that’s great on its own or mixed with other flavors.
  • Sparkling Water With A Splash Of Lemon Or Lime: For that fizzy sensation without the soda, drinking this simple combination is refreshing, considered gluten-free, and has zero sugar — and zero calories.
  • Homemade Smoothies: Blend your favorite fruits, veggies, and gluten-free yogurts for a nutritious smoothie. It’s more a meal than a drink, but still refreshing.
  • Vegetable Juices: Think beyond fruit with a healthy gluten-free veggie juice drink. A carrot or tomato juice can be surprisingly delicious and nutritious drink.
  • Iced Coffee Or Iced Tea: If you need a caffeine kick, these can be great gluten-free zero-sugar options. Just watch out for flavored syrups that might contain gluten.
  • Almond Or Other Nut Milk: Creamy and satisfying, these can be enjoyed alone or in gluten-free smoothies and shakes. You can also find variations with zero sugar added.

The Bottom Line

Is soda gluten-free? Yes, most fizzy soft drinks such as root beer, cream soda, energy drinks, and diet sodas are considered gluten-free and safe on a gluten-free diet. But a little caution goes a long way if you’re on a gluten-free diet because you’re sensitive to gluten or have celiac disease. 

When looking to drink a gluten-free beverage, carefully read ingredients labels. Look for certified gluten-free label claims so you can enjoy drinking your favorite fizzy drinks like root beer, cream soda, sports drinks, or even caffeine-free choices without worry. 

The world of gluten-free living is vast, full of delicious possibilities, from gluten-free sodas to meal delivery services and vitamins. Whether you’re avoiding gluten due to gluten sensitivity or just aiming for a healthier lifestyle with zero-sugar options, there’s something for everyone.

If you’re new to the gluten-free diet, check out the best gluten-free meal replacement bars or fat burner supplements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any soda that is not gluten-free?

Some imported sodas may contain caramel coloring derived from gluten-containing grains, but this is rare. Always check labels to be sure they don’t contain gluten.

Are my favorite brands of soda gluten-free?

Most major soda brands are considered gluten-free, but it’s best to check the labels or the manufacturer’s website.

Is carbonated water gluten-free?

Yes, carbonated water is naturally gluten-free and a great zero-calorie alternative to sugary sodas.

Is diet soda better for you than regular soda?

Diet soda may contain fewer calories and sugar than regular soda, but it’s not necessarily healthier. It’s best to consume all soda in moderation.


+ 12 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

  1. Muhammad and Lasekan, O. (2021). Gluten-Free Cereal Products and Beverages: A Review of Their Health Benefits in the Last Five Years. Foods, [online] 10(11), pp.2523–2523. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10112523.
  2. Biesiekierski, J.R. (2017). What is gluten? Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, [online] 32, pp.78–81. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/jgh.13703.
  3. Fda.gov. (2023). CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. [online] Available at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?fr=73.85#:~:text=(1)%20The%20color%20additive%20caramel,Lactose.
  4. Vollmuth, T.A. (2018). Caramel color safety – An update. Food and Chemical Toxicology, [online] 111, pp.578–596. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2017.12.004.
  5. Dorota Kręgiel (2015). Health Safety of Soft Drinks: Contents, Containers, and Microorganisms. BioMed Research International, [online] 2015, pp.1–15. doi:https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/128697.
  6. Alsunni, A.A. (2015). Energy Drink Consumption: Beneficial and Adverse Health Effects. International journal of health sciences, [online] 9(4), pp.468–74. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4682602/
  7. Garima Sengar and Harish Kumar Sharma (2012). Food caramels: a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology, [online] 51(9), pp.1686–1696. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-012-0633-z.
  8. Łucja Justyna Walczak-Nowicka and Mariola Herbet (2022). Sodium Benzoate—Harmfulness and Potential Use in Therapies for Disorders Related to the Nervous System: A Review. Nutrients, [online] 14(7), pp.1497–1497. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14071497.
  9. Henney, J.E., Taylor, C.L. and Boon, C.S. (2010). Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States. [online] National Academies Press eBooks. doi:https://doi.org/10.17226/12818.
  10. Aggrey Pemba Gama, Hung, Y.-C. and Adhikari, K. (2019). Optimization of Emulsifier and Stabilizer Concentrations in a Model Peanut-Based Beverage System: A Mixture Design Approach. Foods, [online] 8(4), pp.116–116. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8040116.
  11. Center (2022). Gluten and Food Labeling. [online] U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/food/nutrition-education-resources-materials/gluten-and-food-labeling
  12. Center (2022). Food Additive Status List. [online] U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/food-additive-status-list
Donald Romeo

Medically reviewed by:

Melissa Mitri

Donald Romeo is a highly skilled health and wellness writer and a dedicated nutritional researcher. His expertise unravels the intricate connections between nutrition, holistic health, and well-being. With an astute understanding of nutritional science and a talent for translating complex concepts into accessible content, Donald brings valuable insights to his readers. He is committed to empowering individuals by providing practical and evidence-based advice to support their wellness journey. Through his engaging articles, Donald inspires readers to make informed choices, adopt healthier habits, and embrace a holistic approach to their overall vitality.

Medically reviewed by:

Melissa Mitri

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