Last Updated on December 7, 2022
Today, we’re going to be answering the question: what does gluten friendly mean? And taking a look at what the difference is between gluten free and gluten friendly. When it comes to following a gluten free lifestyle, there are plenty of terms that you’ll need to become familiar with to ensure you’re not unintentionally glutening yourself. While it may feel overwhelming at first, it becomes like a second nature after a while. But what does gluten friendly mean? Is it different to gluten free? Let’s take a closer look.
What Is Meant By Gluten Free?
Gluten free simply means a product that is intentionally free from gluten, or a diet that is free from gluten. Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, barley and oats. Gluten can be found in many everyday foods such as bread, pasta, cakes and biscuits.
For a product to carry a gluten free label, it must not contain a gluten grain (such as wheat, barley or rye) and it must have less than 20ppm of gluten. These guidelines were set by the FDA and must be strictly met before a product to display a gluten free label.
What Does Gluten Friendly Mean?
If you’ve eaten out at a restaurant recently, you’ll likely be familiar with the term “gluten friendly”. It’s a relatively new phrase, but one that is now used often in places that are not wholly gluten free and usually prepare gluten containing foods such as pizza, bread etc). While the place predominantly serves gluten foods, they do also supply gluten free options. However, because of where the food has been prepared (i.e. in an open kitchen), it may not be suitable for those with more severe sensitivities. “Gluten friendly” is a great term for restaurants to offer options free from gluten, without having to supply a dedicated area.
It’s also worth mentioning that some places will pitch products as “gluten friendly”, when they contain small amounts of gluten. It’s always best to check with your server before ordering if this is the case.
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What Does Certified Gluten Free Mean?
If a product has been certified gluten free, it will usually clearly be displayed on the packet. Certified gluten free products are the safest you can buy. For a product to be certified gluten free, it must be made in a dedicated gluten free area, and is also tested for the presence of gluten before hitting the shelves. You can find out more about certified gluten free foods here.
What Does Wheat Free Mean?
There are many products hitting the market now which are labelled as “wheat free”. This simply means that they do not contain wheat. While wheat is the main gluten containing grain, it is not the only one. It’s worth noting that if a product is wheat free, it does not mean that it’s gluten free. It can still contain other gluten grains such as barley and rye. For this reason, it’s always best to check the ingredients label of anything you’re unsure of.
What Does Made Without Gluten Mean?
Made without gluten has a very similar meaning to the term “gluten friendly”. It simply means that the product was not made without gluten, but there is a chance that cross contact may have happened, and traces of gluten may be present in the end product.
Gluten Friendly Vs Gluten Free
So what are the differences between gluten friendly and gluten free? If you have a mild sensitivity to gluten, there is very little difference between the two as you should be able to enjoy both safely.
However, if you have a more severe sensitivity, or live with celiac disease, you should not eat foods that are gluten friendly. Gluten friendly foods are highly susceptible to cross contact from gluten containing foods. Whereas gluten free foods will not have come into contact with gluten and are tested for gluten levels below 20ppm.
Gluten Free Vs Certified Gluten Free
When it comes down to it, both gluten free and certified gluten free products should be safe for those following a gluten free diet. However, there is a significant difference between the two. Gluten free means that the product intentionally does not contain gluten and has been tested to ensure the end product contains less than 20ppm of gluten. However, when a product is certified gluten free, the product is tested by a third-party to ensure it does not contain gluten.
For this reason, many people feel most comfortable eating certified gluten free foods. There are plenty of certified gluten free foods available nowadays, and it’s relatively easy to follow a gluten free diet.
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Should You Eat Gluten Friendly Foods On A Gluten Free Diet?
Honestly, there is no definitive answer. It all comes down to the individual and how severe your intolerance is to gluten. I, personally, would never eat gluten friendly foods, as the reaction to even the slightest amount of gluten would affect me. However, there are some people that can tolerate small amounts of gluten, and in that case, gluten friendly foods would be perfectly okay to consume.
In short: if you have a mild intolerance to gluten, gluten friendly foods should be fine. If your intolerance is more severe, or you have celiac disease, it’s best to stay away from gluten friendly foods and stick to either certified gluten free or labelled gluten free foods.
Conclusion – What Does Gluten Friendly Mean
I hope this post has helped to answer the question: what does gluten friendly mean? And given you an idea of some of the differences between the most common phrases when it comes to navigating a gluten free lifestyle. If this diet is new to you, it can feel all-consuming, but I promise that it does get better.
How long have you been following a gluten free diet? Please feel free to let me know in the comments below. Sharing is caring!
Hi, my name’s Zoë. I’m 28 years old and live in London, UK. I work full time as a freelance writer and critic for West End theatre. Writing has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I spend most of my free time at the theatre, or at conventions. I’m married to the love of my life, and live in a small apartment with my fur baby, Lillie. I run two of my own blogs: No Safer Place and Stage to Page: both of which have won awards. I also have a YouTube channel where I talk about all things stagey.