You’ve researched gluten-free foods, snacks, and recipes, but what about beverages? Unsurprisingly, you also need to be mindful of the drinks you purchase and always double check the ingredients to ensure they are gluten-free. Below, you will find our gluten-free survival guide to the most frequently consumed beverages.
Gluten-Free Soda and Soft Drinks
The majority of popular U.S. soda brands are gluten-free. Just be careful when traveling internationally, because many soda brands use different ingredients outside of the United States. Below are a few examples of gluten-free sodas that are safe to drink.
- Coca-Cola claims that the majority of their products contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten and are safe to drink by people with celiac disease. This includes Coca-Cola Classic, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, and most other Coke beverages.
- Pepsi is gluten-free, as are all PepsiCo products such as Diet Pepsi.
- Additional gluten-free sodas include 7UP, Sprite, Dr. Pepper, major brands of root beer (Barq’s, Mug, A&W), and Fanta.
Most sodas are gluten-free and considered safe to consume. If you are still concerned, stick to products offered by the Coca-Cola company and PepsiCo, or contact your favorite soda brand for more information.
Gluten-Free Sports Drinks
Not all sports drinks are gluten-free, so it is important for people with celiac disease to find brands that will not cause a reaction. Here are a few gluten-free sports drink to stick with:
- Gatorade, which is owned by PepsiCo, provides numerous flavors of their popular sports drinks and all are considered gluten-free. Lucky for us, Gatorade can be found in almost all grocery and convenience stores.
- Powerade, which is owned by the Coca-Cola Company, is also considered gluten-free. This applies to all flavors of the popular sports drink.
Stick to Gatorade and Powerade, the two most popular brands of sports drinks. Contact the manufacturer of smaller sports drink brands to ensure safety before opting for an alternative.
Coffee is not always considered gluten-free, and there is a lot to consider before you reach for a cup.
First, the large doses of caffeine in coffee can mirror symptoms of a gluten exposure, such as frequent trips to the restroom. This can make it hard to tell if the coffee you are drinking contains gluten, or if you are just sensitive to the caffeine. Second, coffee comes from many sources and is sold in many different forms. It is possible that the coffee beans used to brew your cup were processed in a facility that also manufactures products containing gluten, resulting in a reaction. In addition, if you add flavor to your coffee, such as vanilla or hazelnut, then you need to be certain that the flavoring is gluten-free. The same applies to coffee creamers and specialty coffee drinks. We suggest brewing your own cup of coffee at home and serving it black or with regular milk. Most unflavored coffee beans, such as Folgers, do not contain gluten.
When getting coffee on the go, be sure to stick to Dunkin’ Donuts, Caribou Coffee, or Starbucks. These coffeehouses use coffee beans that are gluten-free, however there is always a risk of cross-contamination due to the variety of products prepared in the stores. We suggest notifying your server of your gluten intolerance so they can be prepare your cup away from other potentially unsafe ingredients.
The safest bet is brewing your own coffee at home and drinking it black or with a splash of regular milk, which will reduce the risk of a gluten exposure. There is always the risk of cross-contamination when purchasing at a coffee shop, so be sure to notify your server of your gluten intolerance before placing an order.
Gluten-Free Fruit Juice
Fruit does not contain gluten, therefore 100% fruit juice is gluten-free and safe to drink. Fruit flavored drinks are a gray area because they are typically not 100% fruit juice. We suggest sticking to major brands such as Minute Maid, Dole, Tropicana, and Odwala, which are all gluten-free.
Drink 100% fruit juice to avoid a gluten exposure.
Gluten-Free Protein Drinks
Protein drinks are becoming increasingly popular for post-exercise nutrition and supplementing one’s protein intake. Take one look at their nutrition labels and you will find that most of these products have an extensive list of ingredients. As a result, we recommend using extreme caution when selecting a protein drink. It’s likely that you will not recognize many of the ingredients listed on the package, and we therefore suggest looking for a brand you know to be safe. We suggest CytoSport Muscle Milk, which produces many gluten-free flavors such as chocolate milk, vanilla, and cookies & creme, among others. You can also check GNC.com for a list of gluten-free workout supplements.
Protein drinks are heavily processed and rarely gluten-free. Find a brand you know is safe and stick with it!
Gluten-Free Beer and Spirits
If you’re like us, you love having a social beer or cocktail with friends. Unfortunately for celiacs, many types of alcohol are not gluten-free and need to be avoided. We want to make sure you have the information needed to navigate the social scene and enjoy a night out drinking, so we dedicated a section of our diet guide to gluten-free beer and liquor. Head over to the Gluten-Free Alcohol Guide to learn more.