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Grains

  • People with coeliac disease can safely eat many common plants, seeds, grains, cereals and flour, including corn, polenta, potatoes, rice and soya.
  • However they should avoid barley, wheat, rye, cous cous and semolina as they are some of the foods which contain gluten.

Gluten is a protein found in the cereals wheat, rye and barley. If you have coeliac disease, or are the friend or family member of someone with the condition, it is important to know which foods can be safely eaten.

Cereals are the edible seeds or grains of the grass family. They provide us with:

  • carbohydrate – a source of energy
  • fibre – which slows digestion and absorption of nutrients from the gut and helps prevent constipation
  • most B vitamins, especially thiamin, riboflavin and niacin – needed for a number of processes in the body including helping the body get energy from food and to maintain healthy skin and vision.

A ‘pseudocereal’ is a plant which is not a grass or cereal but can be used in similar ways. Naturally gluten-free pseudocereals include amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa.

Here is a guide to common plants, seeds, grains, cereals and flours. You can also download a fact sheet on this from the right hand side of this page.

Not gluten-free

  • Barley (including products that contain malted barley such as malted drinks, beers, ales, lagers and stouts)
  • Bulgar wheat
  • Couscous
  • Durum wheat
  • Einkorn
  • Emmer (also known as faro)
  • Khorasan wheat (commercially known as Kamut®)
  • Pearl barley
  • Rye
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Triticale
  • Wheat.

Need to check

  • Barley malt extract (some breakfast cereals containing barley malt extract are suitable)
  • Oats.

Gluten-free

  • Agar
  • Almond
  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat
  • Carageenan
  • Cassava (manioc)
  • Chestnut
  • Corn
  • Flax/linseed
  • Gram flour (besan)
  • Hemp
  • Hops
  • Maize
  • Millet/bajra
  • Mustard
  • Polenta
  • Potato
  • Pulses (peas, beans, lentils)
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Sage
  • Sesame
  • Sorghum
  • Soya
  • Tapioca
  • Teff
  • Urd/urid/urad flour.

Cross contamination

Although some flours are naturally gluten-free, they can be milled where wheat flour is also milled. See our Food and Drink Directory for suitable products.

Contamination occurs either because wheat flour is in the atmosphere or traces of it remain in storage containers. It’s possible that flours made from pulses, such as gram and urad flour, may be contaminated although they are naturally gluten-free.

Find out about reading food labels which may help in deciding whether products are safe for you.

Oats are tolerated by most people with coeliac disease but it is important oats are uncontaminated. Uncontaminated oat products are listed in the Oats chapter of our Food and Drink Directory.

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