Find out if white rice is gluten-free, what it’s used for, and what you need to know about cross contamination when it comes to white rice.
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If you love Asian style dishes, stir-fries, rice casseroles, or even rice based desserts (rice pudding, I’m looking at you!), you’re probably no stranger to enjoying white rice.
If you choose white rice as a side dish or it’s a big part of your diet, you may be wondering how it fits into a gluten-free diet. White rice is filling and provides a carbohydrate that works as a base for many recipes.
But can folks on a gluten-free diet eat it? And if so, what are the things to know about this ingredient to make sure you’re not getting cross contaminated from gluten in your white rice?
In this post, we’ll talk about what rice is, what it’s used for, and if it’s gluten-free. Finally, we’ll answer the question “is white rice gluten-free?”
Let’s get to it!
What is white rice?
Before white rice becomes “white,” it is considered brown rice. Brown rice is a whole grain that’s made up of three parts of the grain: the bran, germ, and endosperm.
Each of these components of the grain serve a different purpose. The bran provides fiber. The germ provides the nutrients in the form of vitamins B and E, and healthy unsaturated fats. The endosperm is where the carbohydrates are, and where the energy from the rice comes from.
White rice is simply brown rice with the bran and germ removed, leaving the starchy carbohydrate-rich endosperm.
This is why brown rice and white rice have different textures. Brown rice has a more nutty taste and chewy texture, whereas white rice is lighter and fluffy with less “bite” to it.
What is white rice used for?
White rice can be used for all kinds of different recipes and is extremely versatile. While most people use it as a side dish, it can also be used in one-pot meals like casseroles, soups, breakfast porridge, or rice pudding.
White rice is also ground into a flour and is used in many gluten-free baking mixes or flour blends. Because of its light texture, it mimics all purpose flour well in many baking recipes.
Read on: Gluten-free Chinese Food
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in most wheat products, and acts as the “glue” that helps to hold wheat, barley, kamut, spelt, farro, durum, bulgur, rye, and semolina together to maintain their shape.
You can find gluten in whole grains, but also in many processed foods as well. If you purchase wheat bread, there will be gluten in it, because wheat by nature has gluten.
Read on: What is gluten in food?
Is white rice gluten-free?
White rice is naturally gluten-free. However, it’s important to keep in mind that while white rice contains no gluten itself, other ingredients that are added to a recipe will also need to be gluten-free in order to keep it that way.
For example, if you enjoy white rice with stir-fry, be sure to use gluten-free tamari soy sauce instead of traditional soy sauce that contains wheat.
Another place to be aware of gluten in white rice is in packaged rice mixes, where the seasonings have already been added to the rice mixture. The seasonings included may or may not contain gluten, so it’s important to review ingredients lists to ensure there’s no hidden gluten that might not otherwise be obvious.
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Read on: Which whole grains are gluten-free?
White rice and gluten
White rice is naturally gluten-free and like most grains, it is susceptible to cross contamination with other gluten-containing grains while it’s being processed.
Sometimes rice is processed in the same facilities or machinery as wheat grains or other gluten-containing grains, so this is something to keep in mind if you are extremely sensitive to even trace amounts of gluten.
If this is true for you, choose only rice that comes in a package that has been processed on a dedicated gluten-free line.
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If you love white rice and have been unsure how it fits into your gluten-free diet, I hope this post has been useful for you to get the information you’ve been looking for.