I Don’t Drink “Gluten Reduced” Beer Anymore. Here’s Why.

The Evolution Of Gluten Free Beer

When I started writing this blog (about 75 posts ago) I was fairly open-minded about gluten reduced beer options. Two years ago, the gluten free beer market looked very different than it does today. There were way less options on the shelf for us then, and the options we did have were mostly gluten reduced. (Read about the difference between gluten free and gluten reduced here.)

I Don't Drink Gluten Reduced Beer Anymore. Here's Why.

A peak inside my fridge these days. Yep…a whole shelf dedicated to gluten FREE beer…Lol

Beers like Omission and Stone IPA seemed to dominate the west coast market then. You can even find old posts I wrote about them and why I thought they were finding such success in the market (at the time). Even just a couple years ago, there was a lot less information available about the potential consequences of consuming gluten reduced beers as a Celiac.

However…things are changing. The shift has begun. New truly gluten free offerings are popping up every day, and we now have at least 5 breweries in the US that are 100% dedicated gluten free facilities. There are now just as many gluten free beers out there as there are gluten reduced. The problem now lies in distribution networks and consumer access to these options.

Ghostfish Brewing Meteor Shower Blonde Ale - Gluten Free Beer Review - gluten reduced beer

But as the market continues to adapt to the demand of the gluten intolerant community, our access to choices is improving. This adjustment in the gluten free beer landscape is a perfect opportunity to address a very important topic. Should gluten free individuals be consuming gluten reduced beer?

My Experience Drinking Gluten Reduced Beer

I used to drink gluten reduced beer. The green Omission was my favorite (the IPA). It used to be the only “gluten free” option I had in the stores here. So I bought it and began drinking it. The taste was great (naturally, as it was what I was used to) and in the beginning I shrugged off any consequence of gluten contamination. I didn’t get remarkably ill. I felt more or less okay. As okay as someone who battles an autoimmune disease feels on the regular…

best gluten free beers gluten reduced beer

But then I began to drink them a bit more often. Instead of having one in a blue moon, I started reintegrating beer back into my lifestyle and started having one most days when I was done with work. That’s when I began to notice the symptoms more clearly, when I was consuming gluten reduced beers regularly (we’re only talking 1 a night here). I also began to notice symptoms if I drank more than 1 in a sitting.

Now, it’s worth noting that I never became violently ill like if I were to drink a regular beer. But the more subtle signs were hard to ignore. I began to wake up lethargic and depressed. My sleep became inconsistent, and my body got achey. All subtle happenings that used to be apart of my day to day life.

I Don't Drink "Gluten Reduced" Beers Anymore. Here's Why.

That’s when I began to think about the effect this beverage was having on my insides. I realized that if the exposure was enough to present exterior symptoms, my insides couldn’t be thrilled about it either.

As time went on, my access to authentically gluten free beers improved. I realized that my primary excuse for consuming gluten reduced beers–which was that they were the best option at the time–was no longer true. With gluten free breweries popping up and new brews hitting the shelves, it was time to put my support behind those companies that have Celiac’s true best interest at heart.

 

Consequences Of Drinking Gluten Reduced Beers

Recently, research has surfaced regarding the dangers of consuming gluten reduced beers as a Celiac. An organization called the Gluten Intolerant Group sought to test whether drinking a gluten reduced beer would trigger a reaction in a Celiac person. They put it to the test by taking blood samples from people with Celiac disease and testing them against both I Don't Drink Gluten Reduced Beer Anymore. Here's Why.gluten free and gluten reduced beer.

The results of the study: *

  • It was found that no individuals reacted to the gluten-free beer
  • It was found that some individuals reacted to the gluten-removed beer
  • Based on the data, Gluten-Free Certification Organization will NOT certify gluten-removed beers

 

* Study conducted at the University of Chicago’s Celiac Research Center, published by the Journal of AOAC International.

 

I think there is a market for gluten reduced beers, but it’s not the Celiac community. Gluten reduced beers should be reserved for those who are simply gluten sensitive, or for those who live a gluten free lifestyle out of choice–rather than necessity.

Speak With Your Dollar

So if you were to ask me ‘Should Celiacs be consuming gluten reduced beers?’

Well…I would have to say no.

That being said, it’s really up to the individual to choose what’s right for him/her. But for those of you new to this gluten free arena, those of you searching for advice and recommendations from someone who’s already tested the waters, I would urge you to support breweries that present you no threat.

The only way the free market will take our condition and our need for safe products seriously is if we vote with our dollar and tell them what products we truly want. There are many out there that still lack access to gluten free options. It’s up to the rest of us to fuel that demand with our dollar so that higher quality beers will make it to the hands of thirsty GF beer lovers.

I Don't Drink "Gluten Reduced" Beers Anymore. Here's Why.

 

 

Until next time…

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Gluten free and dairy free since 2011. Lover of thunderstorms, golden retrievers, and AMAZING craft beer. Bitter and hoppy is my jam.★LindsiKay.com
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Terry Wood
Guest
You write: “Gluten reduced beers should be reserved for those who are simply gluten intolerant” I would NOT recommend gluten reduced beers for those with NCGS (non-celiac gluten sensitivity). There’s nothing simple about our illness. We react as fast or even faster than many celiacs and just as severely. The only advantage we have is that we do recover faster than celiacs. It only takes us months, instead of years to regain our health. We know almost nothing about NCGS, except that wheat, rye and barley make us very ill. We don’t even know if it’s gluten or some other… Read more »
David smith
Guest
One thing I never understood. If you can’t ingest gluten, why is only having a little ok? If that’s the case why can’t gluten sensitive people only have one regular beer? Either you can or you can’t ingest gluten right? Just because you don’t “feel” the effects does nt mean that your body is not being hurt by it. I mean the Clarex doesn’t get rid of the gluten. It just breaks it up so the test can’t detect it. How is that ok for your body?
Dan from Moonshrimp Brewing
Guest
Dan from Moonshrimp Brewing

I don’t have more than a mouthful of a new gluten reduced beer, its been years since I drank a bottle of one and I feel better for it. While I could get away with a single 12 oz bottle a second one always made me feel off.

Now I will try a new one when it comes to market, as long as it isn’t just another in the unending line of enzyme processed boring IPAs.

Josh
Guest

I live in the Washington DC area and it’s amazing to me the lack of GF beer. GF reduced beers have pushed GF beers out of the market – Bards, New Planet, etc. I’m trying desperately to try Glutenberg but they don’t distribute to the D.C. area. Very frustrating.

Like you mention, distribution is the big issue right now.

Bill Lutterbein
Guest
I was on two Omeprosole pills daily for severe acid reflux for six years and still had a few nights of reflux each month. I read an article about gluten intolerance causing bloating and thus sometimes causing acid reflux, so seven months ago I went gluten free. I am now off the meds and can tolerate one gluten reduced beer, but with two I get just a small amount of reflux. I live in Visalia CA and have only about four choices of gluten free beers in the carry outs and none in the restaurants. I ask for it and… Read more »
Dave
Guest
This was a good article, especially for newly diagnosed folks. I just wanted to comment on the point you made to “speak with your dollar.” While I agree in the theory, in real life it’s not that simple. I have tried many times to get Total Wine and More, Whole Foods, local groceries and restaurants/bars to carry certain gluten free beers on a regular basis so I could just walk in and buy some like a “normal” person. Problem is they can’t justify the shelf space for a product that doesn’t sell much and I can only drink so much… Read more »
Michelle
Guest

I was told that Corona Extra and Coors Light are gluten free, meaning they have under the 20 ppm standard. I looked it up and they are 10 ppm. However, they are not marketed as gf. Ommission, is less than 20 ppm but marketed as gf. I am confused. I love beer, always have. But my side effects for gluten is similar to food poisoning, so I am not real excited to play that game. Anyone have clarification of this ppm thing?

MarkB
Guest
Good article. I will not dispute your stance on gluten reduced beers, but I do have my own story. I have had a love/hate relationship with gluten reduced beers for over 7 years, ever since Estrella Daura became available in the United States. That was just a few months after I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Back then it was identified as “gluten free” and the label clearly stated that it contained less then 6 ppm of gluten. I drank it pretty much exclusively for at least a year and a half, only resorting to the foul tasting Redbridge when… Read more »
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