Difference Between the Keto and Gluten-Free Diets


keto vs gluten free

Too often when someone decides to do a keto diet and they head out to the gluten-free section of their nearest supermarket and load up their cart.

However, gluten-free is not the same as a ketogenic diet. In this post, I will break down the main difference for you easily. 

Do you know that gluten-free isn’t always low carb and that they are not the same thing? There may be some similarities but they are quite different.

For example, keto-friendly food does not automatically equate to gluten-free, nor does the food found in the gluten-free aisle give you the green light to have it on low-carbohydrate diets.

Gluten-Free Is Different From A Keto Diet

A close up of food on a plate

For many people eating foods that are gluten-free is a medical necessity. This means their food has to be free of all wheat flour barley, rye. All grains must be removed from their diet. They are unable to have even a small amount of gluten.

Gluten-Free Vs Keto

A man cutting a cake

In fact, they cannot even consume food that has been processed in a plant that makes wheat products to avoid cross-contamination. Gluten-free isn’t always low carb and this could be a real problem for those who cannot consume any gluten.

What’s interesting is that medical studies are showing that up to 6% of the population in the United States alone with an immune response to gluten.

What’s not exactly clear is this is because the consumption of foods that contain gluten has increased or if there are other factors at play. 

In a restaurant setting, they need to make the staff aware of their gluten issue so that their meals are cooked with the right ingredients and separately from where gluten food has been cooked. This includes the use of soy sauce since it has wheat and can have a negative impact. 

Gluten free isn’t always low carb

A low-carbohydrate plan on the other hand is a choice that people make and usually to reduce weight or for better overall health.  Gluten-free isn’t always low carb.

In fact, carbohydrates and gluten are two different things. Carbohydrates consist of sugar, while gluten is a group of proteins.

Three Types Of Gluten Conditions

The medical community categorizes three types of gluten-related conditions. Those with wheat allergy, celiac disease, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

There are three main types of gluten conditions. The most common type is celiac disease, which affects an estimated 1 in 100 people worldwide. Also known as celiac sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, it is believed that about two-thirds of people with the disease are undiagnosed and not getting the proper treatment.

The second is people with wheat allergies. People who have allergies to wheat will break out into hives, have facial swelling, and even have difficulty breathing if they come in contact with any form of wheat. It is a serious thing when their antibodies react to the wheat proteins.

The third is people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Individuals with non-celiac gluten/wheat sensitivity have symptoms that are comparable to those of celiac disease, which go away when gluten is avoided. They do not, however, test positive for celiac disease.

Many people who have gluten in their diet but do not test positive for celiac disease experience symptoms comparable to those seen in celiac disease, such as “foggy brain,” increased sadness, ADHD-like symptoms, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, bone or joint discomfort, and chronic fatigue.

After testing negative for celiac disease and a wheat allergy and removing gluten from the diet, individuals who experience symptoms relief when followed by a doctor may be diagnosed with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) or non-celiac wheat sensitivity (NCWS).

What Is Gluten?

Gluten is just the general name for the proteins found in wheat. It’s a complex mixture of many related but distinct proteins, main gliadin, and glutenin. These storage proteins were formally known as prolamins.

Gluten is a protein compound found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and others. It’s what gives dough its sticky texture and chewiness. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together.

This includes wheatberries, cereal grains, semolina, farina, spelt, rye, barley vital wheat gluten, and triticale which is a cross between wheat and rye just to name a few. 

Foods that contain gluten include bread, pasta, baked goods, and even certain beverages. 

In people with celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents absorption of some nutrients.

These are the basic differences between gluten free and keto diets.

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