Over last so many years, we have been on a journey to find reasons why we have become fatter, overweight & obese. Most of the reasons are related to processed foods, refined sugar, saturated & trans fat, salt & now the focus has shifted to gluten. We have discussed about gluten in our earlier blog.

Of late we have been observing a lot of obscure knowledge on the internet about the connection between gluten & various beverages specifically coffee. Let us discuss this correlation in detail.

As discussed in our previous blogs, our genetic predisposition to gluten plays a major role in determining our risk to celiac disease. Needless to mention here that a gluten rich diet is not for everyone. Those having gluten intolerance have high risk of attracting celiac disease & should worry about consumption of gluten & coffee.

So the question arises: does coffee have gluten? The answer to this question is “ NO”! Coffee beans are gluten free. They belong to completely different branches of the plant kingdom which are flowering plants. Grains containing gluten come from grasses. If you want to learn whether your coffee is gluten free, check the label of the coffee before coffee to ascertain whether the coffee was produced in the factory that handles gluten based products. Just remember, the cheaper coffee is, the more it will contain additives for flavor & texture. The best way to get gluten free coffee is to buy coffee beans & grind it yourself. Coffee beans are gluten free since the biology behind coffee beans is different from that related to gluten containing grasses specifically when you look at seed & function of gluten in plant based reproduction. Gluten comprises two molecules -gliadin & glutenin. The function of these molecules is to store the starch that nourishes the seed when it germinates.Coffee beans does not require gluten since it depends upon other natural sugar to germinate.

So does this basic understanding hold true for Tea Leaf? Yes! Tea comes from a plant-Camellia sinensis. As mentioned above, gluten store starches that help seeds to germinate. However tea does not have a direct role in plant reproduction. However due to modern techniques, there is a high possibility that tea may have been processed in a factory that handles gluten based products. Therefore if you are genetically predisposed to gluten intolerance or are at risk of celiac disease, you should check the tea label before buying.

Plain black Instant coffee that we consume daily is gluten free however it does not mean that all coffee is gluten free. It is made by roasting beans, extracting flavor compounds & freeze drying to beans to remove liquid. However, this does not guarantee that it is gluten free. Instant cappuccino, mocha, latte & other forms of freeze-dried coffee may contain substances that can be cross contaminated with gluten. If you are at high risk of celiac disease, please check the label since only selected brands offer gluten free coffee.If you visit barista cafe coffee day, or starbucks quite often, the coffee you buy contains sugar, milk, oil & texturing agents which may have gluten. So beware of what you consume specifically if you are gluten intolerant.

What about coffee creamer?

Coffee creamer is an alternative to milk or cream that is especially popular in US & Europe. Most coffee creamer is gluten free however gluten is used as texturising agent & hence those having celiac disease or at the risk of it should check the label specifically if you are consuming coffee at different coffee joints.Although coffee creamer is gluten-free, it’s still a highly processed food with many complex ingredients that does not offer any nutritional value.

CYP1A2 gene determine your genetic predisposition to caffeine consumption. This gene provides instructions for your body to breakdown & excrete caffeine Based upon your genetic makeup, you may be a slow , medium or fast caffeine metabolizer. We have discussed this in our blog on Genetic impact on caffeine consumption. So if you are slow caffeine metabolizer ( & also high risk to celiac disease), the best bet for you would be gluten free caffeine free alternative

There are a lot of gluten free coffee alternatives available that can meet your flavor expectations. One of the most prominent one is chicory root. Chicory is bitter vegetable however when roasted & ground, it is an excellent caffeine free alternative. Besides, it is prebiotic so it helps in keeping a healthy gut. Some of the gluten free coffee alternative include:

  1. Chicory root coffee alternative
  2. Roaster fig coffee alternative

To summarise, every coffee bean and tea leaf is gluten-free — the way nature intended it. After roasting and grinding, coffee doesn’t contain gluten. Even plain, instant coffee has no gluten in it. However you should be careful when buying coffee from outside since a lot of them contain texturising agents or are made in factories that handle gluten based products. This becomes even more important if you are genetically predisposed to gluten intolerance.Discover your personal traits & learn about your genetic makeup to caffeine & gluten . By subscribing to our membership & preventive health solutions, you will get access to various resources, guidance, training, coaching & workshops covering the impact of your genetic predisposition to various aspects of health that will help you maximise your fitness potential & improve your health. Sign up for our membership here.

PS: Originally published on www.thesushantkumar.com

Corporate finance professional turned Health & Fitness Entrepreneur, a fitness enthusiast, adventurer & trekking enthusiast