Spelt Is Never Gluten Free


Is spelt gluten free? Allow me to spill the beans on spelt. It’s never ever ever gluten free. Period.

I’m not sure how people got it in their heads that this ancient grain is safe. It’s not. It has a spunky name I suppose but it’s still a member of the wheat family. The amount of gluten may be different, but it’s still gluten.

If you’re a Celiac, intolerant, sensitive, want to do “gluten free” correctly, don’t eat it.

What the heck is it?

Spelt is a real OG. Original grain. Apparently it’s been around for 7 thousand years and was one of the first agriculture crops in North Africa and maybe Europe. There are many subspecies of wheat, including spelt. The proteins are basically identical to those in modern bread wheat and durum wheat. So there’s absolutely no reason to believe it’s gluten free.

Why the confusion?

The gluten in spelt behaves differently than more commonly used wheat species. It’s more water soluble so I guess technically it may be easier to digest than traditional wheat. It’s also a much older grain than the wheat used today so it’s possible that the chemical structure of an ancient grain more readily jives with our slow-to-evolve human digestive system. Wheat has been hybridized over and over again to make it more glutenous for taste and easier to harvest, so the older grains may be, again, technically easier for us to handle.

This is all assuming that you do not have an issue with wheat gluten. If you do, don’t eat it.

Stay away from the Spelt spin

The resurgence of spelt over the last several years in the US market has bred a lot of, well, let’s just say “unfounded” claims about it’s healthful benefits. Some marketers have even gone so far as to claim that it could be good for those having an issue with wheat . The rub is what “issue” do they have? It is possible for someone to be allergic to durum wheat and be totally good with spelt. But an allergy is very different than an intolerance or Celiac disease. Let the confusion end here and now. No bueno.