Is Cheese Gluten-Free? Best Gluten-Free Cheese In [UK] 2023
Gluten is a type of protein found in certain grains, including wheat, barley, and rye. Consuming gluten triggers an autoimmune reaction in individuals with celiac disease and may contribute to digestive upset in those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity — also called gluten intolerance.
Many whole foods, including all vegetables, fruits, and animal products, are naturally gluten-free. However, Things get tricky when it comes to processed and grain-based foods. Most dairy products, for example, are gluten-free unless gluten-containing ingredients like flavorings or thickeners are added.
If you’re avoiding gluten for any reason, you may wonder: is cheese gluten-free? Usually. While its high-calorie content may not make cheese the most weight-loss-friendly food in large portions, it’s generally a good fit for followers of the gluten-free diet. Read on to find out what cheeses are gluten-free.
Does Cheese Have Gluten?
No, most types of cheese are naturally gluten-free. Cultured cheese products like blue cheese might contain gluten, but cheeses free from additives and flavorings are typically gluten-free.
How Is Cheese Made?
Cheese is traditionally made from milk, though there are various types of dairy-free cheese available. Traditional cheese is produced by curdling milk with bacteria and enzymes.
Bacteria is added to milk in the form of a starter culture. The bacteria digest the primary sugar in the milk — lactose — resulting in the production of lactic acid. The acidity causes the milk proteins to separate or curdle.
Once the milk has curdled, the watery whey is removed, and the curds are salted, cut, and pressed. Depending on the type of cheese, this process may be repeated several times, and the curds might be aged.
The cheese’s appearance, odor, and taste depend on the type of milk and bacteria and the processing method. Mozzarella cheese, for example, is kneaded before being shaped, giving it a stringy quality. Swiss cheese gets its holes from bubbles of carbon dioxide produced by the bacteria that digest the lactose in the milk. Odorous cheeses like Limburger get their smell from certain types of bacteria.
Gluten-Free Cheese Options
Does cheese have gluten? Not usually. There are plenty of naturally gluten-free cheeses to choose from.
However, if you have celiac disease, it’s best to stick to labeled gluten-free products. Even products without gluten-containing ingredients can be cross-contaminated with gluten if made with shared equipment.
Naturally gluten-free cheese varieties include cheddar, mozzarella, brie, American cheese, feta, provolone, ricotta cheese, swiss, and parmesan cheese.
Is Cream Cheese Gluten-Free?
Yes, full-fat cream cheese is usually gluten-free.
Unless they are thickened with wheat flour or wheat starch, cheese products like cheese powder, cheese whiz, string cheese, and cheese spread are usually free from gluten too.
Shredded cheese is usually safe as the type of starch used to keep the shreds from sticking together is usually potato starch.
Cheeses That May Have Gluten
Processed cheese products have the highest risk of containing gluten. The food label will tell you whether the cheese was made on equipment shared with gluten-containing products. If the food is labeled gluten-free, it’s usually safe, but the safest option is to choose certified gluten-free products.
Certain vegan cheese products may contain gluten, so read the label before eating dairy-free cheese. Fried or breaded cheese products like cheese sticks likely contain gluten.
Be particularly careful when ordering cheese spreads or dips at a restaurant. Queso and nacho cheese made in-house might be thickened with flour. Beer cheese is not considered gluten-free unless it’s made with gluten-free beer.
Is Cottage Cheese Gluten-Free?
Usually, yes. However, some types of cottage cheese might contain modified food starch made from wheat. Always check the ingredients list for the type of starch used.
Is Blue Cheese Gluten-Free?
The molds used in certain types of blue cheese might be grown on wheat or rye. Read the label carefully to ensure there are no gluten-related ingredients or derivatives.
Gluten-Free Tips For Enjoying Cheese
Though most cheese is gluten-free, it should be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. To ensure your nutritional needs are met, consider adding personalized vitamins to a varied diet of fresh fruits and veggies, gluten-free grains, lean proteins, and dairy.
Here are some simple ways to enjoy cheese with other gluten-free foods:
- Enjoy freshly sliced cheese paired with salty meat like salami and dried fruit.
- Sprinkle shredded or crumbled cheese over a fresh salad.
- Melt cheese into grain-based side dishes like rice or gluten-free pasta.
- Add sliced cheese to your burgers and sandwiches.
- Top steamed veggies with cheese and broil for just a few minutes to melt it.
- Sandwich slices of cheese between crackers for a quick snack.
If you’re new to the gluten-free diet and need some help getting started, gluten-free meal delivery services are an excellent tool. It never hurts to keep some gluten-free meal replacement bars on hand either, for times when you need a quick meal.
Whether you have celiac disease, a wheat allergy, or another condition that necessitates the avoidance of gluten, you can rest easy knowing that most cheese doesn’t contain gluten.
That said, it’s wise to consider how cheese fits into your healthy gluten-free diet plan. Cheese is naturally high-fat, so you may want to limit your portion sizes if you’re trying to lose weight. Adding a gluten-free fat burner to your routine may help you lose weight while still enjoying moderate portions of cheese and other high-calorie foods.
If weight loss is your goal, also be mindful of other dairy products. For example, gluten-free protein powders made with whey or casein may be higher in calories than plant-based protein powders.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. While cheese is usually gluten-free, some highly processed cheese varieties contain gluten. Cheeses with added flavor are most likely to contain gluten.
Yes. Mozzarella is a naturally gluten-free food.
Usually. Cheddar cheese is naturally gluten-free, but some flavored varieties and processed cheeses may include gluten-containing ingredients.
Cultured cheese products like blue cheese can be made with mold cultures grown on wheat or rye bread.
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