Today, we’re going to be answering the question: is there gluten in soda? It’s one of the most popular drinks – but is it suitable when following a gluten-free lifestyle? Let’s take a look!
When you first receive your diagnosis, you’ll likely feel completely overwhelmed when checking which products you can eat. But something I certainly didn’t realize (naively!), is that some beverages contain gluten. Ones that you likely wouldn’t expect at all!
Do Sodas Have Gluten?
This may surprise you, but yes – some sodas do contain gluten. You’ll find gluten in places you probably wouldn’t even expect to check; I know I didn’t. However, it doesn’t stop there. Some sodas may also be unsuitable due to manufacturing methods. For example, they may be produced in the same areas as gluten-containing products. That would mean the risk of cross-contact is high.
Don’t worry though – it’s not all doom and gloom. Many leading soda brands are gluten-free and safe for consumption.
It’s important to note that ingredients and allergen warnings differ from country to country. I’ll mainly be talking about the US and UK. If you’re outside of this regions, it’s always worth double-checking.
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Is Diet Coke Gluten-Free?
Good news! Diet coke is gluten-free. According to Coca-Cola, their diet coke contains less than 20ppm of gluten, which means that it is considered gluten-free. We’ll be taking a look at what other brands and varieties of coke are gluten-free later.
Many leading brands and varieties of soda are gluten-free. And although it’s rare in the US, many off-brand sodas use caramel coloring which is derived from barley or wheat. Many off-brand sodas in the UK contain barley. Be sure to stay away from those drinks as they are unsuitable for a gluten-free diet. Besides manufacturing methods, that is usually the only ingredient in soda that is likely to cause any problems.
Let’s take a look at leading soda brands and what they have to offer.
Coca-Cola is probably the most popular soda brand you’ll come across. And thankfully, on their list of products containing less than 20ppm of gluten, there’s a wide selection. The options include:
- Caffeine Free Coca-Cola
- Diet Coke
- Caffeine Free Diet Coke
- Cherry Coke
- Diet Cherry Coke
- Coca Cola Zero
- Cherry Coke Zero
Unpopular opinion – Pepsi is the superior soda for me. Cherry Pepsi is my go-to drink and it’s simply delicious. Pepsi state that with the exception of their 1893 Original Cola (it contains barley), all other varieties are considered gluten-free. However, they do not make gluten-free claims for their products, just that their sodas have no gluten-containing products. I assume this is more to cover their backs more than anything else.
I’m happy to confirm that I’ve drank Pepsi since my diagnosis and am always okay. Their safe products include:
- Diet Pepsi
- Pepsi Cherry
- Zero Sugar Pepsi
- Zero Sugar Pepsi Cherry
- Pepsi Caffeine Free
- Diet Pepsi Caffeine Free
Whilst 7UP do not claim to be gluten-free, their soda contains no gluten ingredients and is said to contain less than 20ppm. These flavors include:
- Diet 7UP
- 7UP Cherry
- Diet 7UP Cherry
A&W Root Beer
Whilst this product does not contain any gluten, it does have a warning on their website which states that:
“A&W is not a gluten free environment cross-contamination with gluten product may occur“
You can find more information here. Cross contact aside, the flavors that contain no gluten are:
- Cream Soda
- Diet Cream Soda
- A&W 10
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Dr. Pepper is completely safe for us. Their products contain less than 20ppm and their website states that their products contain corn gluten – which isn’t harmful to us. Their safe drinks include:
- Dr. Pepper
- Dr. Pepper Cherry
- Diet Dr. Pepper
- Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry
- Caffeine Free Dr. Pepper
- Diet Caffeine Free Dr. Pepper
- Dr. Pepper Cherry Vanilla
- Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry Vanilla
They may not make gluten-free claims but they contain no gluten ingredients, meaning it’s safe for us to drink. Some available options are:
- Mountain Dew Voltage
- Mountain Dew Kickstart
- Major Melon
- Major Melon Zero Sugar
In the UK and US, Fanta is considered gluten-free. They are part of Coca-Cola and the choices include:
- Fanta Orange
- Fanta Orange Zero
- Grape Fanta (another favorite of mine!)
Again, manufactured by Coca-Cola, Sprite is safe for us to drink. The available drinks are:
- Sprite Zero Original
- Sprite Zero Cherry
- Original Sprite
- Cherry Sprite
- Tropical Sprite
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Sunkist is part of the Dr. Pepper group and considers their sodas to be gluten-free. Both original and diet options are safe for consumption.
A Note To Consider
If you have celiac disease or are very sensitive to gluten, it’s important to note that although the products above contain less than 20ppm of gluten, which is considered the safe amount, it may still trigger a reaction in gluten-intolerant individuals. If you’re feeling extra cautious about this, it may be best to avoid soda altogether.
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To conclude, whether you’ve tried a drink 100 times – always check the label before drinking. You never know when circumstances may have changed, or ingredients may have been added.
Whilst there are a plethora of options available for us in terms of leading brands, off-brand sodas are completely different. Many do contain barley (and I’ve been caught out many times by this, especially at the beginning of my gluten-free journey). Whilst I would normally encourage buying products as cheap as possible, it may be best to stick to named brands with soda.
If you know any soda brands that are certified gluten-free, please let me know in the comments below. They are definitely the safest option for us. So always opt for those if you can.
What’s your favorite soda? Mine is a tie between Grape Fanta and Diet Pepsi Cherry.
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