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Good To Know: Is Wheat Germ Gluten Free

By Adriana Seng | Gluten-Free Foods

Sep 29

There are a lot of brands that claim to be gluten free products, even for those products containing ingredients that have been long established to be high in gluten. There a new processes that enables manufactures to get rid of the gluten contents from the most common gluten sources such as wheat, oats and rye.

Wheat germ is one of those products that are derived from such natural products. Since all of us know that natural wheat is high in gluten, the real question here now is whether or not wheat germ gluten free is.

What is Gluten?


Gluten is a natural protein commonly derived from natural grains like wheat, rye and barley. While this is one of the most natural produce we can find all over the world, there are people who find it crucial to avoid gluten in their diet.

It may be out of necessity or out of preference. Despite being a gluten producing grain, wheat is one of the most basic ingredients used in so many delicious recipes and staying off it altogether is going to be a real sacrifice.

Unfortunately, gluten is an allergen which basically means that there are people allergic, but note that there is a very small percentage of the world’s population that have a negative reaction to gluten. It can be due to digestion and absorption issues, sugar problems such as those with diabetic people, or even just a regular allergy. Note that an allergic reaction to anything can be fatal, so do not take it lightly.

The best way to manage gluten sensitivity is by getting rid and staying clear of all products and foods that contain them, especially for those suffering from celiac disease. Since cross-contamination is also a risk for these individuals, it is best if you can try to make sure that separate tools are used for preparing gluten containing products and gluten free ones.

Wheat Germ and Gluten


Wheat germ, deductively known as wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), certainly contains gluten. It is basically derived from the embryo of the seed of grain and contains the highest concentration of gluten as compared to the rest of the grain.

“Germ” alludes to germination, which is the regenerative part of the seed that grows and structures the wheat grass. This is literally the seed that would eventually germinate and grown into a wheat grass, had it been left to nature to do its job. Wheat germ is a very small part of the grain of wheat – approx 2.5% of the weight.

Think about processed wheat and realize that while regular wheat may contain gluten, most of the nutritional values have already been ripped off. Now wheat germ contains all those nutrients and more. In fact, it is a high source of not only protein, but also fiber and folic acid.

Uses of Wheat Germ and Gluten


In breads, gluten gives the structure and quality to holding the batter together when the yeast produces carbon dioxide air pockets and causes the mixture to rise. Generally, wheat flour contains the perfect measure of gluten for cooking and baking.

Wheat germ is often used make granola bars, cereal mixes, and even cornbread. You can also get it raw in a jar or even as a wheat germ oil. They may also be used as toppings for desserts like ice creams, and can also be used as breading, instead of using breadcrumbs.

Alternatives for Wheat Germs


On the off chance that you really, really have to maintain a good distance from gluten-containing fixings and dishes, yet might still want to enjoy both the flavors and nutritious contents of a wheat germ, there are a couple of other alternatives that just might work for you.

Ground flaxseed meal

It has a nutty flavor and can give really good texture and color to your favorite recipes, especially bread and pastries.

Ground Almond Meal

This will provide you with a similar nutty flavor that you can get from ground flaxseed meals. The best part is that it is a very good source of vitamin E and proteins.

While these two alternatives can serve as substitutes for wheat germ, they are gluten-free and are definitely safe to use.

Wheat germ is the most concentrated portion of a grain, where most of the nutritional values and gluten may be found. While there are claims that staying gluten free can help weight loss, there are so many other alternative ways.

Keep in mind that by staying gluten free, it is better to stick to fresh produces rather than processed ones. This is also the best route to take if you gluten sensitive since there is no guarantee that foods are not cross contaminated during the production process.

Let me know what you think and share your thoughts on the comment section below.