Foods like pasta or bread are made from wheat flour, so they're not gluten-free. But since most of the eggs we eat are laid by chickens (we're not getting into which came first), they're considered a naturally gluten-free food.
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Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, rye or barley and derivatives of these grains, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation. So, any foods made from these grains (such as pasta and bread) will contain gluten, too.
But just because eggs are safe for gluten-sensitive or gluten-intolerant people to eat, doesn't mean that the egg dish you're ordering at brunch is necessarily safe.
Eggs Are Gluten-Free — but Watch Out for Cross-Contamination
Cross-contamination occurs when foods or ingredients come in contact with gluten during preparation or manufacturing, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation.
If you're ordering eggs at a restaurant: Before placing your order, you'll want to ask the server to confirm with the chef that the dish is free of gluten ingredients and prepared with separate utensils.
In some cases, restaurants may even mix pancake batter into scrambled eggs and omelets to produce a fluffier consistency, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation — so always double-check with your waiter to confirm the proper measures are taken.
If you're buying a pre-prepared egg dish from a supermarket or store: Make sure to first double-check the nutrition panel for any hidden gluten ingredients. Also, take a look at the allergen listing to confirm it's free of gluten ingredients.
Another sign to look for is a gluten-free label on the package of the food you're buying. This mark is regulated by the FDA and confirms the food you're buying contains less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten, which is generally safe for most people to eat.
Or, choose foods that have are certified gluten-free by a trusted third-party like the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO). The GFCO tests and certifies hundreds of products, verifying that they contain less than 10 ppm of gluten.
Do Grain-Fed Chickens Lay Gluten-Free Eggs?
You may be curious about chickens fed with gluten-containing grains and the eggs they lay. Although it seems to make sense that grain-fed chickens will produce gluten-containing eggs, there's no evidence to prove this, according to Shena Jaramillo, RD.
"All eggs are naturally gluten-free regardless of the chickens' diet," Jaramillo says. "The animal will break down gluten during digestion and restructure the resulting amino acids to meet its metabolic needs. Therefore, no gluten will be passed on from animal products such as eggs to consumers."
The same goes for grain-fed meat, too. So, whether you're prepping eggs or burgers, the grains eaten by the animal won't affect the gluten content of your dish.
A Gluten-Free Egg Recipe
If you make them at home in your gluten-free kitchen, you can rest assured that the eggs you're frying for breakfast are free of potential gluten contaminants. Give this gluten-free egg recipe a try for your next breakfast or brunch.
Baked Eggs in Pepper Cups
- Calories: 308
- Protein: 16 grams
Whether you're hosting a family brunch or prepping breakfast for one, this baked egg recipe will take your meal to a whole new level, both in appearance and taste. You'll need just over a half-hour to prep this recipe and only a handful of ingredients.
Contrary to popular opinion, whole eggs are a healthy food to incorporate into your breakfast — and it's generally safe to eat one egg per day. High in healthy fat and protein, eggs are also loaded with nutrients, such as zinc and choline.
Find the Baked Eggs in Pepper Cups recipe and nutrition info here.