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Is Keto Gluten-Free? What’s the Difference?
Keto Diet

Is Keto Gluten-Free? What’s the Difference?

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on July 13, 2022
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6 min

Is the keto diet the same as a gluten-free diet? We take a look at how the two diets compare, where they differ, and how you might combine the two to combat gluten sensitivity in this article.

Is keto gluten free

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With so many new types of diets making their way into the mainstream in recent years, it can be hard to keep up with what each of them entails.

When it comes to the keto diet, there is some confusion as to whether this diet is gluten-free or can be tailored to those following a gluten-free diet.

In this article, we’re going to be taking a look at the ketogenic diet and how it relates to the gluten-free diet. We’ll have a look at what keto and gluten-free mean, whether the keto diet can be used to manage gluten sensitivities, and what the differences are between the two.

Keep reading to learn more.

Does Keto Mean Gluten-Free?

Keto does not mean gluten-free. Those following keto are not necessarily following a gluten-free diet as the two have different requirements.

A keto diet focuses on eating a low-carb, high-fat diet in an effort to push the body into the metabolic state of ketosis.

Ketosis is a metabolic state in which the liver begins to break down stored body fat into fatty acids called ketones and uses these as fuel rather than using blood sugar. Keto diets require you to eat fewer than 50g of carbohydrates a day to achieve this.

A gluten-free diet requires you to stop consuming gluten-containing foods. While many common carbohydrates do contain gluten, the keto diet is not, by definition, gluten-free. For example, a low-carb bread could be keto but not gluten-free.

What Is a Gluten-Free Diet?

A gluten-free diet is a diet in which the protein gluten is completely avoided for health reasons. Gluten is found in the grains wheat, rye, and barely.

Eating gluten-free is the only way to treat celiac disease as well as wheat allergy and other gluten sensitivities.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease where eating foods containing gluten can lead to damage to the small intestine. The damage that occurs in the small intestine affects the villi, which are small finger-like protrusions that encourage nutrient absorption.

Gluten intolerance is not the same as celiac disease. Gluten intolerance is when someone experiences bloating or pain after consuming gluten but does not have an autoimmune disease.

An allergy to wheat is also different and refers to a condition when the body produces antibodies to the proteins found in wheat, resulting in an allergic reaction.

On this diet, you can eat many products, including meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, rice, lentils, and potatoes. You can also eat processed foods that are free from gluten and specifically designed gluten-free products.

Does Gluten-Free Mean Keto-Friendly?

A gluten-free product is not necessarily suitable for keto diets. This is because products that are gluten-free can have a high net carb value.

Products created specifically for those who cannot eat gluten can still have lots of additives, preservatives, and carbohydrates, especially if they’re marketed as sugar-free.

If you follow a diet without gluten and are interested in the weight loss you can achieve on the keto diet, the Keto Cycle app does just that.

Keto Cycle provides an easy way to stick to the low-carb diet required on the ketogenic diet while still avoiding gluten.

The app offers thousands of different recipes, including gluten-free keto recipes, and allows further personalization to cater to your specific needs. This means you can remain gluten-free while on the keto diet.

The app also allows you to track your progress on the keto diet, get weight loss tips, and join a community of other keto dieters to keep you motivated and on track.

Can a Keto Diet Manage Gluten Sensitivity?

There is evidence to suggest that a gluten-free keto diet can be useful in managing gluten sensitivities.

Ketosis can reduce inflammation in the body. With celiac disease and other gluten sensitivities, inflammation is very common.

In addition, the keto diet is thought to ease some of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). 

Avoiding gluten is thought to be a good way to manage IBS symptoms. So, combining the two diets and making the keto diet gluten-free could be a good way to reduce symptoms even more.

Eating keto means cutting out carbs, which means cutting out lots of foods containing grains, which means not consuming gluten while following the keto diet could be easier than you think.

What Are the Differences Between Gluten-Free and Keto?

Though the two diets can be combined, there are a few ways that the keto diet differs from eating in a way that avoids gluten. Here’s a summary below.

#1 Keto focuses on high fat intake

The keto diet aims to push the body into the metabolic state of ketosis to promote weight loss. 

Eating a high fat intake while reducing your carbohydrate intake can move your body into this state.

A high-fat diet is a staple of the keto diet as the body begins to use fat for fuel over the blood sugar from carbohydrates that it would normally use.

Eliminating gluten from your diet does not enhance the amount of fat you eat. Foods free from gluten, unlike keto foods, don’t necessarily have more fat in them.

On a gluten-free keto diet, you would need to ensure your foods are both high-fat and gluten-free.

#2 Keto focuses on lowering carbs 

Eating keto means reducing your carbohydrate intake to around 50g per day. This can change depending on your needs and is essential to avoid weight gain on the keto diet.

Avoiding gluten does ensure you cut out many common carbs, but it is not a strictly low-carbohydrate diet. And many products that are created for those who cannot eat gluten can still have many additives as well as a high carbohydrate content.

To make the keto diet gluten-free, you will need to ensure you cut out all gluten-containing products while reducing your carb intake. This is to ensure you stay gluten-free while also staying below the carbohydrate limit for the day.

Gluten-free diets are compatible with keto recipes because of the fewer carbs allowed on this diet, but keto recipes are not strictly gluten-free.

#3 Gluten-free products might contain sugar and other harmful ingredients

When foods are created specifically for those who cannot eat gluten, they can contain a range of sugars, additives, and preservatives to mimic the taste, texture, and structure of a product with gluten in it.

These extra ingredients can be harmful when eating in a ketogenic way and may move the body back out of ketosis without you realizing it. They may also be harmful to your overall health, as some synthetic additives are thought to be.

In addition, as we have mentioned above, gluten-free foods, like gluten-free bread, can contain ingredients that are not keto-friendly and increase the carbohydrate content of the product.

Potato starch is a common ingredient in bread that doesn’t use wheat flour and is not a keto ingredient.

Other common swaps for gluten-containing ingredients include coconut flour, buckwheat flour, and chickpea flour, all of which are not considered suitable for keto eating, or should be limited on this diet due to their relatively high net carbs.

When eating a gluten-free keto diet, you should be wary of products that are made free from gluten as they may have hidden carbs.

A Word From Our Nutritionist

Many common foods contain the protein gluten, including bread, soy sauce, baked goods, and pasta. Other foods, like highly processed foods, can have gluten-containing ingredients added in the manufacturing process to enhance flavor.

A diet that avoids gluten was originally designed as a treatment for people with celiac disease, but this kind of diet has increased in popularity in recent years, and gluten-free recipes are everywhere now.

Eating in a ketogenic way lends itself to avoiding gluten simply because many gluten-containing products are also high-carb foods, and eating keto requires you to eat at a reduced carb count. But, the two diets are not one and the same.

Those who are gluten sensitive may benefit from eating in a ketogenic way as it has been shown to reduce inflammation. This is a common side effect of intolerances and sensitivities to gluten.

The two diets can work alongside each other and complement one another, but they are not the same thing. Anyone who cannot eat gluten and is looking to try out eating keto will have to ensure that all of their foods and recipes that do not contain gluten are also keto.

Conclusion

The ketogenic way of eating is not the same as avoiding gluten in your diet; however, the two styles of eating do have similarities.

It is possible to make a ketogenic diet gluten-free by following recipes that adhere to both requirements.

If you do avoid gluten and are looking into eating keto, why not check out the Keto Cycle app? The app allows you to personalize the thousands of keto recipes it offers to include your individual food preferences.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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