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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Are Grits Gluten-Free and Safe for People with Celiac Disease?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Because they are made from corn, grits are naturally gluten-free.


    Caption: Image: CC--Ron Dollete

    Celiac.com 02/05/2019 - Grits are a southern favorite that are gaining popularity outside their traditional strongholds, as eateries like Waffle House and IHOP expose more eaters to this delicious breakfast food. Grits aren’t just for breakfast. Savory grits make a great meal or side for lunch or dinner. Grits are delicious, and because they are made from corn, they are naturally gluten-free. Grits are made from ground, dried hominy. Hominy is the inner portion of corn. 

    When it comes to prepared grits, especially at restaurants, be careful of any extras, especially the gravy. Always make sure the gravy is gluten-free, then ask again. Gravy is often thickened with wheat four, though that’s changing as more places look to offer gluten-free options to their diners.

    Most brands of grits should be naturally gluten-free, but if you’re looking for a brand specifically labeled as gluten-free, one major gluten-free brand is Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Corn Grits.So, even if you have celiac disease or gluten-intolerance, you can likely go ahead and enjoy delicious gluten-free corn grits for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Here are some gluten-free grits recipes:

    Also, if you’re not sure about a food or an ingredient, please check Celiac.com’s SAFE Gluten-Free Food List, and Celiac.com’s UNSAFE Gluten-Free Food List


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    I have asked about grits in restaurants here in Atlanta where who has the creamiest, tastiest grits is a badge of pride. In response, I was told in more than one restaurant that they add flour (!) to improve the consistency. So when eating out, I recommend to check for specifics beyond the obvious ingredients.

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    I asked food cafe if I could read the ingredients on a package of the grits.  It contained "wheat" & other celiac diet no-no's.  I have used certified gluten-free grits from the store. When I travel, I go to the local grocer for fresh prepared fruits, vegetable platters, a box of gluten-free crackers & ground peanut or almond butter.

    Best of all, it is a blessing to locate hotels with small kitchen stovetops.   Sitting on the bowl for 4.5 hours with repeated explosions after accidental gluten exposure puts a major dent in vacation fun. 

    I recall one man's adage regarding his diet; "If I don't fix it, I don't eat it!"

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    I am very confused. I was diagnosed with celiac disease through biopsy and bloodwork 15 years ago after being very sick for a year. I have to admit I do cheat occasionally and long term this could create damage. When I do cheat I never have any reactions. Could be a piece of birthday cake, a beer, or a half of burger bun where a restaurant doesn’t serve gluten free bread. Why is that? While others would suffer for days. 

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    1 hour ago, Guest ChrisM said:

    I am very confused. I was diagnosed with celiac disease through biopsy and bloodwork 15 years ago after being very sick for a year. I have to admit I do cheat occasionally and long term this could create damage. When I do cheat I never have any reactions. Could be a piece of birthday cake, a beer, or a half of burger bun where a restaurant doesn’t serve gluten free bread. Why is that? While others would suffer for days. 

    Celiac disease is like a chameleon.  Symptoms can change over time.  When I was diagnosed, I did not have GI issues, (just anemia), yet I had severe small intestinal  damage.  Most likely, you can have that piece of cake or bread and not experience severe symptoms because your small intestine has healed.  Your immune response may be delayed (slow to ramp up).  In any case, you should take care to avoid gluten.  

    I think that gluten exposures can keep the body in a hyper extended state that may cause you to develop additional autoimmune disorders.  I was diagnosed with Autoimmune Gastritis during a repeat endoscopy.  Years earlier, I had no gastric issues per my earlier gastric biopsies.  This probably occurred due to cross contamination when food was prepared by others.    I have NEVER knowingly cheated on the diet.  Autoimmune Gastritis?  It is a precursor for cancer and usually is silent!  

     

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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