Is Meat Gluten Free: The Short Version

Is meat gluten free

Is meat gluten free?

Yes, all meat in its natural form is gluten free, including beef, lamb, fish and chicken.

That is the short and sweet story of meat and gluten.

If, however, you want to know all the juicy details, keep on reading!

In this article I will discuss:

What is gluten?

Let’s start of with a brief explanation of what gluten is.

Gluten is a class of proteins.

It acts as a structural component in food. That is why, for example, a cake that you’ve baked, will hold it’s shape and not collapse.

Like all proteins, gluten is made up of amino-acids.

And like all other proteins, if gluten is exposed to excess heat, it can denature.

Denature is the more technical and scientific word for when the structure of protein changes and breaks down due to the amino-acid molecules breaking away from each other.

When proteins are digested, the same thing happens.

The proteins in meat

Meat is also made up of proteins.

It’s commonly known that meat is the major protein source in most diets.

A 250 gram beef steak contains about 53 grams of protein and 100 grams of lamb contains about 25 grams of protein.

There are mainly three types of protein in meat.

These are sarcoplasmic proteins, myofibrillar proteins and connective tissue proteins.

I will get into a bit more detail in another article.

Is meat gluten free?

There are many other sources of protein.

One of them is grain.

Grains, like wheat and barley, also contain a number of different proteins.

One of the proteins that is present in some grains, is gluten, a structural protein.

Grains that contain gluten include wheat, barley, rye and triticale. Triticale is a cross between rye and wheat.

To get a bit technical, gluten refers to the combination of glutelin and prolamin proteins.

These types of proteins, however, doesn’t occur naturally in meat, but only in some grains.

Does processed meat contain gluten?

Unlike natural meat, processed meat can contain one or more of a long list of ingredients.

If any of those ingredients originates from, amongst others, wheat, rye barley and triticale, then the processed meat is going to contain gluten.

One example is for example any meat with a crust, like Schnitzel.

The crumbs are likely to contain gluten.

Final thoughts

Is meat gluten free?

Yes, natural meat is gluten free, BUT, as soon as it’s processed, the possibility arises that the meat could contain gluten.