Last Updated: June 6, 2022

Is Spelt Gluten-Free? Can It be Added to a Gluten-Free Diet?

is spelt gluten-free

If you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, you may wonder whether you can eat spelt. So the question arises: Is spelt gluten-free? Just like all other wheat, spelt also contains gluten and isn’t safe for a gluten-free diet. So our straightforward answer is: No! Spelt Is Not Gluten-Free!

In this article, we’ll have an in-depth discussion on:

What is Spelt?

Spelt, also referred to as an ancient grain, is another form of wheat. While many ancient grains are gluten-free, spelt isn’t one of them and has gluten.

Many people also call it “ancient wheat,” and it is a hybrid of two types of wheat. Spelt’s scientific name is Triticum spelta.

Spelt is used to make risottos, stews, broths, and bread. You can easily substitute rice, potatoes, and wheat with spelt. Spelt is also used to make vodka and beer in some parts of Central Europe.

In some places in Europe, dried, unripe spelt, known as “green grain,” is eaten as a snack.

Spelt flour can be used in various sweet and savory baked goods. This nutritious flour adds a light, sweet and nutty flavor to pastry, cakes, bread, and other baked goods. 

This grain is typically sold as flour or whole. In health food stores, you can find spelt cereal and pasta, muffin mix, spelt bread, and pancake mix.

spelt in a bowl
Image credit: Photocrew1, Shutterstock

Gluten in Spelt

Gluten means wheat protein, and it’s present in all types of wheat, including spelt. The protein provides structure to baked goods, particularly bread, and makes the dough rise.

Though gluten is safe for many people, people living with celiac disease should avoid it. Suppose someone with this condition consumes spelt or other gluten-containing products. In that case, the lining of their small intestine will be damaged because of an autoimmune reaction and inflammation.

Those who have non-celiac gluten sensitivity should also avoid all types of wheat, including spelt.

You may also like: Is Cocoa Butter Vegan

How Much Gluten Does Spelt Contain?

There is a common belief that ancient wheat contains less gluten than regular wheat. But spelt has more gluten content than traditional wheat.

When researchers compared the gluten content of spelt and regular wheat, they discovered that spelt had a slightly higher gluten content.

Also, a study on celiac antibodies concluded that spelt is slightly more reactive than common wheat, implying that exposure to spelt causes an autoimmune reaction in people living with celiac disease.

If you wonder if spelt bread is gluten-free, the answer is that anything made from spelt contains gluten.

Note :

No amount of gluten is safe for people with celiac disease.

Spelt for People with No Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity

If you don’t have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you can easily replace your regular wheat with spelt. Spelt can be a good substitute for common wheat as it has more health benefits.

Spelt is high in antioxidants. It has approximately 50% more phenolic antioxidants/grams than common wheat – according to healthline.com. And the research found that these antioxidants protect heart cells, the brain, and the liver and provide anti-cancer, anti-diabetes, and antimicrobial effects. They are also anti-inflammatory; as stated by the National Library of Medicine.

So, if you don’t have any issues with gluten, you can add spelt to your diet.

Nutrients in Spelt

Common wheat and spelt have a similar nutrient profile. Spelt provides protein and is a great whole grain fiber and carbs source.

From a 100-gram serving of cooked spelt, you can get-

  • 127 calories
  • 6 grams protein
  • 26 grams of carbohydrates
  • 4 grams of fiber
  • 1 gram of dietary fat

So, if you aren’t looking for a gluten-free diet, spelt is safe and healthy for you to consume.

Substitutes for Spelt Flour

Suppose you want to maintain a gluten-free diet due to gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. In that case, you shouldn’t include spelt in your diet. There are many substitutes available for spelt flour that are gluten-free and nutrient-rich, and you can easily add them to your baking goods.

You can use amaranth as a grain form or flour in your stew, soup, or salad. It is gluten-free and a good substitute for other types of flour for baking.

You can easily include buckwheat, sorghum, tapioca, millet, corn, and quinoa in your gluten-free and celiac-friendly diet.

It’s unnecessary to limit yourself only to rice when you’re trying to avoid gluten. Because there are many alternative grains available that enable you to bring versatility and flavor to your diet, always remember to purchase certified gluten-free products to avoid the risk of cross-contamination.

You may also like: How to Store Pizza Dough

A Quick Review

  • Spelt contains gluten protein.
  • Anyone with celiac disease and gluten intolerance should avoid spelt.
  • Spelt bread isn’t gluten-free.
  • In your gluten-free and celiac-friendly diet, you can use amaranth, buckwheat, sorghum, tapioca, millet, corn, and quinoa.
  • Spelt is nutrient-rich. If you have no problem with gluten, you can add it to your diet, replacing common wheat.

Leave a Comment