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Is Rice Gluten-Free? 4 Types of Rice to Avoid

Spencer Cailas

is rice gluten free

One of the commonest doubts that people have during their gluten-free crusade is whether they can eat that deliciously tempting smoked or stir fried bowl of rice.

Considering that gluten has an uncanny knack to end up even in grains that do not contain the protein by itself, the doubt is partly justified. 

Is Rice Gluten-Free?

Rice is one of many gluten-free foods that are naturally gluten free.

All plain varieties of rice are inherently gluten-free including brown rice, basmati rice, plain polished white rice, black rice, and even wild rice. 

Take glutinous rice for example, despite sounding like it’s loaded with gluten in every molecule, the name simply refers to the final sticky form from how it’s cooked, and not because it contains gluten.

In many cases, the name itself can be a misnomer.

People generally want to know if potatoes are gluten-free, considering they’re easily found on even the simplest of recipes.

4 Types of Rice You Should Never Eat

If your taste buds veer towards flavored versions then you are officially entering gluten turf. Flavored rice mixes contain wheat-based ingredients like thickeners and soy-sauce that can contaminate it with gluten. 

Most manufacturers of rice who are diligent about protecting their products from cross-contamination add the ‘gluten-free’ label as a USP and a feather to their collar.

Not only does this help clear the doubt in the minds of the discerning shopper, it also provides an added impetus to the sales. 

Just because the product is rice based, that doesn’t make it gluten-free as many packaged rice products contains ingredients like spices, and even sauces that sometimes contain gluten in extremely high amounts.

Keep a look out for products that are also labeled wheat-free, they too can, and quite often do contain gluten.

Instant Rice

Most precooked rices sold in your local store, or supermarket quite often contain thickeners, sauces and other ingredient mixes that contain rye, and even barley.

Double check that the package is labeled and certified as gluten-free, especially microwave ready packaged rices.

Sushi Rice

The biggest problem with sushi rice, is the sauce used during the cooking/prepping process, most of them are wheat based like teriyaki sauce, salad dressings, eel sauce.

Especially the fillings for sushi rolls, they’re regularly made with sauces and thickeners that you need to stay far away from. If you’re planning to eat sushi, we suggest bringing your own gluten-free based sauces that can be bought at your local store like tempura.

If you’re eating at a restaurant, a family or friends house, make sure to inform ahead of time, have a list of instructions and things to give to the chef so they may remove it or not include it.

Cross Contact

Though Rice is naturally gluten-free, cross contact can happen when it comes in touch with gluten containing grains like barley, rye, wheat or during processes like growing, harvesting or even packaging.

Did you know that it’s possible for wheat products like flour to stay in the air for hours, increasing the chances of cross contact contamination from the kitchenware, other uncovered foods and surfaces.

Though the chances of cross contact and cross-contamination are remote since rice, and wheat aren’t normally processed in the same facility, it can happen, it’s important to thoroughly clean the cooking area before, and after cooking, prevention is the most important aspect when it comes to living gluten-free.

Dangers of Arsenic in Rice

Arsenic is a chemical, that’s naturally found in nature and it is becoming a problem for most rice consumers, especially thos with celiac disease patients and other gluten related problems as they have the tendency to eat more foods containing rice as it’s gluten-free compared to the general population.

Eating high amounts of inorganic arsenic is unhealthy, and dangerous to one’s health.