People who aim to maintain a healthy lifestyle often have mixed reactions towards eating white rice on a regular basis. There are a lot of articles, blogs and perhaps even e-books out there that describe white rice as an unhealthy grain that you should refrain from consuming if you want to remain healthy. One of the main reasons why people make the assumption that white rice is unhealthy is because it is pretty commonly believed that white rice contains a fair amount of gluten. As you are probably, consumers have developed an affinity towards gluten-free products in recent times. This does not mean that gluten is harmful for your health (unless you suffer from gluten intolerance). People love the gluten-free diet because it offers health benefits that you can’t get anywhere. However, adhering to a gluten-free diet is not imperative to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This brings us to our original question. Is there any real need to be concerned about supposed gluten content of white rice?
Switching Over to a Gluten-Free Diet
Adjusting to a gluten-free diet is not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination. It requires a lot of patience, abstinence and commitment. Not eating products made from wheat is just the first step towards being gluten-free. There are plenty of other grains and processed foods that are packed with gluten. If you are gluten intolerant, the consumption of gluten from these food sources can cause you to fall ill and suffer severe damage in your gastrointestinal system. It is hard to place you trust in foods once you start a gluten-free diet. That being said, you should be aware of the fact that there is no need for you to give up on a normal life and live off unappetizing and typical gluten-free foods.
Plain White Rice is Gluten-Free (Usually)
Delicious foods can be gluten-free (or be made gluten-free) as well. In fact, there are plenty of safe and reliable foods options for you to choose from. One of them happens to be plain white rice. This debunks the myth that plain rice contains gluten. That being said, you need to exercise caution when eating plain rice. Just because the grain is inherently gluten-free does not mean that it has not been contaminated with gluten in one way or the other. Did you know that some of the rice products you find in the supermarkets are processed in facilities where wheat is handled? This raises concerns about cross contamination, which can be a serious issue in the life of a gluten intolerant person.
Handling the Issue of Cross Contamination
To keep white rice gluten- free, you have to make sure that you buy white rice products which have been prepared in a dedicated facility of its own and one that is free from gluten. You also have to ensure that your kitchen does not contain any traces of gluten or wheat for that matter. Cross contamination is a common problem that consumers face with oats. These are grains which are grown alongside gluten. Hence, it is very easy for the two grains to come into contact and even get mixed up when being processed. Cross contamination is not as big a problem with rice as it is with other grains such as oats. This is because rice is usually grown in under a different climate than wheat. It is cultivated in fields. Therefore, the growing areas and mills of rice are quite separated from that of wheat (even though there are exceptions). Your job is to basically buy white rice from the right vendor and keep your kitchen free from wheat and other gluten containing foods. This is particularly necessary for those who eat rice almost on a daily basis.
Watch Out for the Sauce
Even though white rice is gluten-free, there are many ingredients used with white rice that are made with a wheat-starter. For example, the most common food that contaminates white rice with gluten is soy sauce. Most of the soy sauce products that you find in the supermarkets contain some traces of gluten. The ones that don’t will have a clear “gluten-free” label stamped on the packaging. Other sauces and condiments such as teriyaki sauce can be a source of cross contamination. If you do not want to take any chances, the best option is to make soy and teriyaki sauce at home with ingredients that are 100% gluten free.
What about Other Variants of Rice?
We have already established that plain white rice is gluten-free. But, can the same be said about other types of rice out there. Fortunately, yes. Brown rice, black rice and red rice are all free from gluten just like their plain white counterpart. However, there are some rice-based grain mixtures out there that are not gluten-free.