Hardly we know someone who doesn’t like cheese. We rarely know someone who actually don’t eat cheese, as it is almost in every food we eat. We can eat it with almost anything like pasta, pizza, salads, etc. However, because of allergies or are lactose intolerant, some people are prevented to eat cheese. Others have symptoms of celiac disease or also known before as non-celiac gluten sensitivity. The symptoms may be similar to celiac disease that includes abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, foggy mind, lethargy or fatigue. Protein found in grains is what we call gluten. It’s commonly present in foods like wheat, spelt (dinkel wheat), rye, barley, bread, cereals, pasta, etc. But do you wonder if cheese is gluten-free But does cheese have gluten?
For people with any diseases be very careful when choosing your meals. Gluten in these cases can cause severe immune system reactions, skin rashes, inflammation of the digestion tract, brain fog, etc. If you want to know if cheese can also cause these problems or not, just keep on reading! Is cheese gluten-free?
Does cheese have gluten?
Cheese lovers must be eager to know if cheese is gluten-free. The milk used to make cheese is pasteurized before it is cultured. Getting rid of all the bacteria found in the milk is a process called pasteurization. All of these natural ingredients on their own are gluten free. However, during the manufacturing process, different additives for different cheeses might not be gluten free. Cheeses that usually don’t contain gluten are: brie cream cheese, goat cheese, provolone, swiss, cheddar, parmesan, feta etc. However, when buying cheese, we still recommend you check the label.
Most packages will usually have gluten-free written all over them. If it doesn’t say on the package you can always read the food label. Look out for any mentions of wheat, rye, barley, etc. However, we doubt you’ll ever have to do this. Most companies nowadays have an obligation to write down if their product is gluten-free or not. You should probably try to call the number on the food label if you happen to come across an unlabeled package. That way you can directly ask the cheesemaker if his product has gluten or not. You can also google the company and find out on your own. It’s up to you! People nowadays are a lot more aware of gluten-related diseases than in the past. We doubt you’ll have a hard time finding out if a product, not just cheese, contains gluten or not.
Is Your Cheese Free from Gluten?
So does cheese have gluten? The truth is that you can never be 100% sure without checking, but most cheeses on the market are indeed gluten-free. However, there are a few exceptions or just cheeses that you should be more alert when buying them. Cheeses with no additional flavorings are gluten-free most of the time. Other processed cheeses or cheeses categorized as low-fat, fat-free, or low-salt are more likely to have gluten.
How to Check if Your Cheese is Gluten-free:
In order to improve the smell and taste of cheese, especially those that have had their fat or salt removed are usually combined with some ingredients that contain gluten. Additives like wheat starch should also be a warning sign for those of you that are allergic to gluten. American cheese, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese are some of the cheese types that can have a different kind of ingredients – sometimes gluten-free, sometimes not. You should always check the food label. Look out for malt vinegar as it contains gluten that is sometimes added to these cheeses.
All in all cheese with gluten is not something impossible, so keep your eyes open when buying the following cheese :
- ricotta cheese
- queso cheese
- dairy-free cheese
- blue cheese
- cottage cheese
- cheese spreads
- cheese sauce
- string cheese
- powdered cheese
- processed American cheese
- the spray can cheese
- breaded mozzarella sticks, etc.
If you find these ingredients on the label, your cheese is not gluten-free :
- powdered cellulose
- vegetable gum
- artificial flavor
- food starch
- natural color
- artificial color
- spice mix, etc.
Is Your Gluten-free Cheese Gluten-free Safe from Contamination?
Sometimes cheeses that didn’t originally contain gluten, can end up contaminated with gluten. This can happen in one of the places where the cheese usually passes until it gets in your stomach. So the contamination usually happens during transportation or in a restaurant, but it can even happen at the factory or the farm where it was produced. If not handled properly, contaminated cheese can come from the grocery store. However, this shouldn’t become a fear of yours. This kind of cheese contamination is not dangerous for people with gluten sensitivity.
Those that have celiac disease have to be a lot more careful. Beer- washed cheese is also a phenomenon that is becoming more and more popular. People with gluten allergies should be especially careful because as you probably know – beer contains gluten. Beer-washed cheese most certainly does have gluten. So make sure to keep your cheese away from a beer-washed cheese. Blue cheese is also a topic of most gluten-free debates. It is because the way some blue cheese is manufactured may contain gluten.
People suffering from gluten-related diseases spend a lot of their time thinking about what they can or can’t eat. Does cheese have gluten is only one of the questions they frequently ask themselves. Most natural cheeses found on the market are gluten-free, and that is good news for them.
However, as we explained above, cheese can get contaminated or can get mixed with other gluten-based ingredients that can be quite harmful to one’s health. That’s why even though natural cheeses are usually gluten-free, we recommend checking every label and every package. You can never be too careful with these diseases. Even though it might sound like a big inconvenience always reading the package or asking the manufacturer – remember that nothing is more important than your health.
There is a variety of gluten-free that even people allergic to cheese may enjoy. Just remember to always be cautious and check the label. With all this “cheesy” talk, aren’t you craving for it now? Check out my easy recipe for macaroni and cheese here.