Does barley have gluten?
Is Barley Gluten-Free - Does Barley Contain Gluten
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** Is barley gluten-free, or does barley contain gluten? **
By Jane Anderson, About.com Guide
Updated February 22, 2012
About.com Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by the Medical
"Is barley gluten-free, or does barley contain gluten?" Getty Images/Peter
*Question: *Is barley gluten-free, or does barley contain gluten?
Barley is one of the three primary gluten-based grains. Therefore, in
almost all cases, foods made with barley will contain the gluten protein,
and people following a gluten-free diet will need to avoid them.
Gluten proteins that cause problems for people with celiac disease and
gluten sensitivity are found in the grains wheat, rye and barley, all of
which are closely related.
The scientific name for the gluten protein in barley is hordein. Hordein
actually occurs in the seeds of the plant, which we know as the grain.
The vast majority of products that use barley as an ingredient use those
grains/seeds, not any other part of the plant. Therefore, almost everything
made with barley contains gluten. This includes most beers (made with
fermented barley), malted milk, malted candy and other malted products
(malt is made from barley grains that are germinated and then dried),
barley flour (used sometimes in baking) and barley pearls (frequently found
There's some controversy over whether barley grass (the immature stalks of
the plant) contains gluten, and some vitamin products carry a gluten-free
label despite the fact that they include barley grass. However, most
experts advise using extreme caution
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