Today, we’re going to be answering the question: does brown sugar have gluten? It’s one of the most common foods you’ll use in baking – sugar. But is it safe to consume when following a gluten-free diet? Do the manufacturing and storage methods affect it’s gluten-free status? Let’s take a closer look.
What Is Brown Sugar?
Besides the color, brown sugar is similar to white sugar. It contains slightly more minerals and fewer calories than white sugar – and of course, it’s brown. Brown sugar comes from the sugarcane or sugar beet plant (like white sugar).
However, it gets it’s signature brown color because of the addition of molasses. Because of the addition of molasses, brown sugar has a rich, caramel flavor and is less sweet than white sugar. It is most commonly used in baking, as it’s great at retaining moisture – which is a bonus for baked goods.
Is There Gluten In Brown Sugar?
Naturally, there should not be any gluten in brown sugar. As the only two ingredients in brown sugar is white sugar and molasses, you would think it would always be gluten-free. However, that’s not always the case. There may be no gluten-containing ingredients in brown sugar, but it may have been a victim of cross-contact.
Cross contact is when gluten-free products come into contact with gluten-containing products. Whether this be that they’re prepared on the same area, or stored in the same area – it may mean that the end product is not gluten-free anymore. A single breadcrumb is sometimes enough to trigger a reaction, so cross-contact is a big risk for people that live with Celiac disease and sensitive gluten intolerant individuals.
Learn more about: Does Molasses Have Gluten?
Is Raw Sugar Gluten-Free?
Raw sugar should always be gluten-free. It is as natural as a sugar substance can be – so naturally, will always be gluten-free.
Is Sugar Gluten-Free?
Much like brown sugar, any other sugar (white, etc.) is naturally gluten-free. But like we saw earlier with brown sugar, cross-contact can be a risk with any sugar. When buying sugar, it’s best to opt for products that carry a gluten-free label if possible. We’ll be taking a look at some of the best gluten-free options available, later in this article.
Are Artificial Sweeteners Gluten-Free?
There are four artificial sweeteners that are more commonly known in the US: Splenda, Equal, Sugar Twin, and Sweet’N Low. However, only 3 of these options are considered gluten-free.
- Sugar Twin – The company states that their products are gluten-free and the facilities in which their products are made are gluten-free facilities
- Equal – The company claim that all of their 4 different products are gluten-free and safe to consume when following a gluten-free diet. Maltodextrin is an ingredient that often worries celiacs and gluten intolerant individuals; however, it is also safe.
- Sweet’N Low – One of the most recognizable artificial sweeteners available – and guess what? They’re gluten-free too! The company states that their products are gluten-free and is at no risk of cross-contact during manufacturing.
- Splenda – This company is a brand you’ll need to be more careful around. While they do not contain any gluten ingredients, they do not test their products for gluten – so it may be at risk of cross-contact. It’s worth noting that there are many gluten intolerant individuals who can tolerate Splenda.
When possible, opting for products that carry a gluten-free label, or claim to be gluten-free on their packaging/website are the safest options to go with. This isn’t always possible, but if any of these sugar options are available, we highly suggest them:
- Wholesome Sweeteners – The company states that there are no gluten ingredients and the product’s manufacturing methods are safe for gluten-free consumption.
- Domino’s and Florida Crystals – Some of their products carry a gluten-free label. This is very reassuring for any Celiac or gluten intolerant individual!
- Sugar in the Raw – Their FAQ page states that their products, “contains no gluten, nor does it come into contact with glutinous products such as wheat during its manufacture.”
You may be able to find more gluten-free claims on sugar when browsing the shelves in your local grocery store. As long as you’re checking the ingredients and labeling, it’s easy to find gluten-free alternatives.
Making Your Own Brown Sugar
If you want to be extra safe with your brown sugar consumption – why not make your own? Purchase a white sugar variant from one of the companies listed above and follow this simple step-by-step guide. The only two ingredients you’ll need for this recipe from The Spruce Eats are:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp. of molasses (GF)
All you need to do with those ingredients are:
- Gather the ingredients and mix them in a bowl together until they’re thoroughly mixed
- Store in an airtight container to ensure it’s as fresh as possible, and can be used as and when needed
It really is that easy! And as gluten-free claims on brown sugar are seen less often than on white sugar – it may be the safest way to have brown sugar going forward.
I hope this article has helped to answer the question: does brown sugar have gluten? And how easy it is to find gluten-free options. Whether you can tolerate certain brands all depends on the severity of your intolerance. If Celiac, you should always opt for labeled gluten-free products. However, there are some gluten intolerant individuals who are able to tolerate “may contain” foods. So it’s best to find out what works for you.
Are there any gluten-free brown sugar brands that didn’t make our list? Or do you have anything beneficial to add? If so, please feel free to add any comments below. I love reading through them, and you’ll be contributing something to the gluten-free community!