Gluten-free yogurt, like any other yogurt, is a food derived from milk that has been acted upon by beneficial bacteria. This particular type of yogurt is specifically guaranteed to be free of any significant trace of gluten. The gluten-free designation is important because it allows people suffering from celiac disease to be absolutely certain that they can eat such yogurt safely.
Ensuring that yogurt contains no gluten is important for people who suffer from celiac disease and for those who are sensitive to gluten. Most people are thought to be able to digest gluten in reasonable amounts with no ill effects. People with celiac disease, however, are known to react very strongly to gluten and experience a variety of symptoms, including digestive difficulties and deficiencies in vital nutrients. Gluten sensitivity is a less serious condition but still produces very unpleasant gastric symptoms. Only gluten-free yogurt is safe for men and women with either of these conditions.
Yogurt typically does not contain gluten. Plain yogurt is made very simply. Heat is used to sterilize a batch of milk. A bacterial starter containing helpful microbes is then added, and the bacteria are given time to grow and multiply in the milk. The bacteria used for this purpose consume the lactose in the milk and produce a modified dairy product with many health benefits, particularly for regularity and digestion.
No gluten is required in this product, and ordinary plain yogurt is generally gluten-free yogurt. Modern manufacturers of yogurt often modify the basic recipe, however, and add additional ingredients, flavoring agents, or other foodstuffs. Most nations require that food products be labeled, and that containers of yogurt provide information indicating whether or not they contain any gluten.
Most ordinary varieties of yogurt, both flavored and unflavored, are made of gluten-free yogurt. Some flavors, such as cookie dough, are guaranteed to contain gluten because the foodstuffs that have been mixed together with the yogurt base contain gluten. Other packages of yogurt may consist of gluten-free yogurt but come with toppings that contain gluten. Gluten may be added for other purposes relating to food chemistry. Package labeling should disclose this information, but careful attention is warranted when shopping for such foods.
Frozen yogurt, although made from yogurt, is often more processed than ordinary yogurt. More additives and additional foodstuffs may be involved in making frozen yogurt as well. All of these factors combine to make it less likely that it will be gluten-free.