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Honey: Is It Gluten Free?

Honey is a sweet liquid made by honeybees that is syrupy. It is enjoyed by many people on bread, in tea or as a sweetener.

Honey is often marketed as a healthy alternative to regular sugar. This is largely due to the numerous health benefits associated with it and its antioxidant content.

With so many varieties of honey on the market, if you avoid gluten for health or personal reasons, you can wonder if all types are safe to eat.

How is it made

Honey begins as a nectar of flowers collected by honeybees. Inside the beehive, the bees then repeatedly consume, digest, and regurgitate the nectar to produce honey. In the hexagonal beeswax comb, they then drop the honey and repeat this process until the comb is full. The bees cap the comb with wax until the comb is finished. It's then gathered for honey extraction by beekeepers.

Based on the plant source, extraction method, and how the honey has been processed or preserved, the type of honey varies. Although the nutritional content varies depending on the type of honey, 64 calories and 17 grams of carbs are generally provided by 1 tablespoon (21 grams) of honey and there is virtually no protein, fiber, or fat. It contains only trace amounts of different micronutrients, but is a concentrated source of antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds.


Does it contain gluten?

Gluten is a group of proteins found in certain grains of cereals. These proteins provide the elastic and stretchy structure of the dough.

While most people without any side effects can tolerate gluten, people with celiac disease or sensitivity to gluten need to eliminate gluten from their diet. This means that grains containing gluten, such as wheat, barley, rye, and triticale, which is a cross between wheat and rye, are eliminated.

Gluten can also be found in products containing oats that have been cross-contaminated or processed in a plant that also produces grains containing gluten.

As none of these grains are used in its preparation, honey is naturally gluten-free.

However, if honey is processed in a facility that also manufactures gluten-containing foods, there may be a risk of cross contamination.


How to choose a gluten free honey

Reading the label carefully is the best way to check whether your honey is gluten-free. Any food labeled gluten-free, gluten-free, gluten-free, or gluten-free must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is the lowest reliably detected level, and following a gluten-free diet, it's safe for most people.

It is voluntary, however to label a product gluten-free. As such, even if the item is gluten-free, some gluten-free honey or honey products may not include this labeling. It is always a good idea to check the ingredient list for ingredients which may contain gluten. The product is not gluten-free if it contains wheat, barley, rye, or ingredients made with these grains. In addition, you can check for allergen claims on the label. Legally, food companies are required to indicate common allergens, including wheat, on the label.


To Sum It Up

Naturally, honey is gluten-free.

Still, gluten-containing ingredients may include some specialty flavored honeys or honey-based products. If it is manufactured in a facility that also processes foods containing gluten, honey may also become cross-contaminated with gluten.

If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, it's always a good idea to read the label closely or buy certified gluten-free products to avoid unknowingly ingesting gluten.

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