What Is Gluten-Free Granola?

Gluten-free granola is a type of breakfast food or snack eaten by people who suffer from gluten intolerance. Gluten is a protein that is formed when grains such as wheat, barley and rye are mixed with a liquid and is what binds bread dough, giving it shape. Some people suffer from gluten intolerance, especially those who have celiac disease, and develop symptoms such as chronic fatigue and digestive problems. Using gluten-free foods as part of a gluten-free diet helps controls the symptoms and effects of this disease.

Oats are the primary ingredient in granola, whether it’s a traditional or gluten-free variety. It can be a controversial choice for a gluten-free diet, however, because some studies suggest that oats might contain some level of gluten. A bigger problem stems from the fact that oats are often processed on the same equipment as wheat-based cereals. That cross-contamination can be harmful, especially for sufferers of gluten intolerance. As a result, oats used in gluten-free granola should be certified as gluten-free.

There’s no clear answer for whether someone who has a gluten intolerance should eat gluten-free granola. Each individual must weigh the risks by consulting his or her doctor. Some people might find that they can tolerate a small amount of oats, and for others, even a negligible trace might set off a celiac attack.

Many varieties of commercial gluten-free granola are available for purchase from health foods stores and supermarket chains. Many people, however, like to make their own from scratch. It’s easy to do and can be a good way to monitor the ingredients consumed as part of a gluten-free diet.

Other ingredients besides oats can be used for a gluten-free granola. Buckwheat, quinoa and millet flakes are popular choices. Small amounts of oil and sweeteners typically are added to the granola base. After the mixture is baked, dried fruits such as raisins, coconut and cranberries, can be added along with a variety of nuts and seeds. The nuts can be added and baked along with the dry mixture for a roasted texture and flavor or added at the end.

Typically, gluten-free granola is eaten as a morning cereal with milk or soy milk. It also can be enjoyed as a snack anytime of the day. Some people like to sprinkle it over a dish of yogurt or fresh fruit to add extra sweetness and crunch or as a topping for baked cobblers or fruit crisps.


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