Being Gluten Aware: Is Millet Gluten Free?

Most people with common and more standard dietary habits have probably never heard of, let alone tasted millet. This somewhat obscure grain is, however, very popular amongst certain groups, especially vegans and vegetarians. This slowly “rising star” of the grain world actually encompasses some 500 different species of grass seeds and it has been a hot topic amongst nutritionists as of late.

Very short and simple answer to this questions is: yes. Millet is a completely gluten-free cereal and for this very reason, it has been finding its way to more and more food shop shelves and kitchens. Gluten allergies and intolerance are not at all uncommon these days and seeing how our food intake revolves heavily around carbohydrates intake via different wheat-based products, it stands to reason that people would seek out gluten-free alternatives. By its properties, millet is very similar to wheat in many of its aspects, so those wondering is millet really gluten free have a very good reason to ask this question. It seems to be the best possible gluten-free alternative that exists out there.

Is Millet Gluten Free?

When it comes to its protein structure, millet flour is very similar to that of a wheat flour. However, millet flour is indeed completely gluten free. For this reason, millet flour products like bread are very similar in most of its properties to their wheat counterparts but are also perfectly safe for gluten intolerant people to consume.

For this very reason, millet flour bread has become more available in the bakeries and health food stores. When there is a demand, a supply is sure to follow, and millet-based products are no exception to this rule.

Is Millet Gluten Free? Raw millet that has yet to be processed.

Is Millet Wheat Free?

Although it has a number of similar features, millet is completely wheat free, which is exactly what makes it a great alternative to wheat. Although the question itself may seem a bit odd, considering how similar the millet products are to those made of wheat, it is not as strange as it seems at a first glance.

It is even more so when one consider the fact that millet is not on the all-time popular list of grain and a lot of people are quite clueless about it and are only now finding the information about its use and properties.

Is Millet Gluten Free? Processed millet seeds.

Other Side Of Millet

While millet may be completely gluten-free, it does have some negative substances that are often neglected in lieu of this really convenient property. It may not contain gluten, but millet does contain goitrogens, substances that suppress thyroid activity.

Suppress activity of the thyroid gland can cause its enlargement and lead to hypothyroidism, a very serious medical condition with symptoms including depression, fatigue, hair loss, difficulty with losing weight as well as cold hands and feet.

There is also some other research that indicates that actual nutritional value of millet is not nearly as high as it may seem because certain ingredients in this grain actually block these useful nutrients from your body.

Is Millet Flour Gluten Free? processed millet seeds in a Green bowl.

Nutritional Value Of Millet

While some researchers may disagree on exact details about the chemical process that happen in the body, which can bring to question a real nutritional value of this grain, raw numbers indicate that there is plenty nutritional value in millet.

Talking about protein value, there is about 11g of protein in 100g of millet. Wheat has about 12.6g per 100, so millet certainly comes very close in this regard. When it comes to carbohydrates, there is about 75g per 100, which is a slightly higher than what we find in wheat – 71g per 100.

Millet is also a very good source of minerals, especially calcium and potassium. However, this nutritional value is the very one disputed by certain studies which claim that despite these raw levels being quite high, they are actually being consumed quite poorly by our bodies because of high flavonoid, phytate and polyphenolic levels in millet.

Consume Millet Properly

We have established that the answer to the question is millet really gluten free is unequivocal yes. This makes it a perfect choice for people having problems with gluten tolerance, or, at least, it would appear so at a first glance.

Closer inspection, however, discovers that there are also some risk factors involved with millet consumption and that too much millet can influence your health adversely in other areas. This is why the best advice anyone can give you is to consume millet in moderation.

If you are a person who happens to be completely gluten intolerant then millet can seem like a God sent the solution to all your problems. It really does make up for so much that you have been missing by not eating wheat. However, eating too much millet for prolonged periods of time will almost certainly lead to health complications connected to the thyroid gland and could cause goiter.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and also eating things that you enjoy can really be a challenge, especially considering how the tricky chemistry in our bodies can be. This is why staying informed and maintaining balance is of utmost importance for staying healthy. Millet is just one example which clearly shows that not everything is as it seems.

Conclusion

As a gluten free, wheat-like grain, millet is a welcome addition to diets of persons suffering from gluten intolerance and allergies. Millet products are very similar to their wheat counterparts in both appearance and taste, which makes it an even more appealing proposition.

However, this more and more popular cereal also contains certain elements that can interfere with proper functioning of your thyroid gland, causing hypothyroidism and goiter. This is why the only right way to consume millet is with moderation.

Regardless of how hard your gluten intolerance problem may seem, you most certainly do not want to pile on even more health issues by eating too much millet on a daily basis, causing further imbalances.

That said, millet consumed in moderation will not have any adverse effects on your health and can really be a welcome addition to your overall diet.

Image Rights

Images used via Creative Commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Image One by Yi Chen – https://www.flickr.com/photos/yiie/5191300845/in/photolist-8UJLSZ-nhXCms-atDHu5-3e3MXq-8vT2Yw-3dYmLX-9o7F6H-cmLk5J-azaLX9-rsyNkN-df5BNJ-df5ye8-df4FQr-srMRz-rb6K4W-qvSRzP-pLwcYc-m2s24P-8z5nMV-rsyxcS-3L1BxY-9yDtwR-5VZrKY-aDoWCt-9yDtGg-8brreJ-ofMrEf-dnKNjq-6Gb2Z5-azrRTk-9EL6by-7fHnkA-CH8zww-4peuBQ-ag4R5d-ag26gp-9fZwFf-ag25WH-ag25Ti-9Zrji9-deAwwu-ohNmPa-deN2XD-qvEfZG-s36Ro8-cVTDUQ-rb5AKm-rbcXtT-df4FoB-oLk1gY

Image Two by adil1133 – https://www.flickr.com/photos/64884898@N04/5963442504/in/photolist-a5YcGd-NgwTt-df4G2F-dfTtR6-df45tc-df45Q8-7ZMBWN-4bxxqz-dfTtPa-f3ZBe8-5rwh7A-rb5Lpb-rqnkGL-df5qsP-4bBzRJ-dbQ78E-rb5Mrm-Bbp76X-8UJLSZ-nhXCms-atDHu5-3e3MXq-8vT2Yw-3dYmLX-9o7F6H-cmLk5J-azaLX9-rsyNkN-df5BNJ-df5ye8-df4FQr-srMRz-rb6K4W-qvSRzP-pLwcYc-m2s24P-8z5nMV-rsyxcS-3L1BxY-9yDtwR-5VZrKY-aDoWCt-9yDtGg-8brreJ-ofMrEf-dnKNjq-6Gb2Z5-azrRTk-9EL6by-7fHnkA

Image Three by Steven Jackson – https://www.flickr.com/photos/jackson3/3890573349/in/photolist-6VNcUR-a5YcGd-NgwTt-df4G2F-dfTtR6-df45tc-df45Q8-7ZMBWN-4bxxqz-dfTtPa-f3ZBe8-5rwh7A-rb5Lpb-rqnkGL-df5qsP-4bBzRJ-dbQ78E-rb5Mrm-Bbp76X-8UJLSZ-nhXCms-atDHu5-3e3MXq-8vT2Yw-3dYmLX-9o7F6H-cmLk5J-azaLX9-rsyNkN-df5BNJ-df5ye8-df4FQr-srMRz-rb6K4W-qvSRzP-pLwcYc-m2s24P-8z5nMV-rsyxcS-3L1BxY-9yDtwR-5VZrKY-aDoWCt-9yDtGg-8brreJ-ofMrEf-dnKNjq-6Gb2Z5-azrRTk-9EL6by

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