No, milk does not have gluten. Whether you choose whole, low-fat or lactose-free cow’s milk, it is gluten-free. In fact, many foods are gluten-free naturally and here’s why: Gluten is found in certain grains, so foods from other food groups are gluten-free, as long as they don’t have other added ingredients (more below). Sometimes people ask us if milk is gluten-free, so we wanted to answer some common related questions.
What types of grains contain gluten?
Gluten is a protein naturally found in wheat (durum, spelt, farro, etc.), rye, barley and combinations of these grains. So foods made from these grains such as pasta, bread, cereals, and others, will contain gluten. It is possible for other grains and foods to have traces of gluten if they are being made or packaged in the same place as the grains that do contain gluten.
Should I be concerned about gluten?
For most people, the answer is no. For those with celiac disease, an auto-immune disease that causes people not to be able to digest gluten, the answer is yes, because their bodies cannot breakdown gluten and it can put them at nutritional risk if they don’t follow a gluten-free diet. Celiac disease is not common – it affects nearly 3 million people in the U.S. and an estimated one in 100 people worldwide.
What about other dairy foods?
Dairy foods such as milk, most yogurts and most cheeses are naturally gluten-free foods, as are dairy ingredients, such as whey protein. Some dairy-based foods – foods where milk or dairy is not the only component (i.e., certain cheese spreads, frozen desserts, etc.) — may have flavorings or additives that contain gluten, so it’s important to read the ingredient label. If you are still in doubt, call the company that manufactured the food or visit its website.
Here’s another thing to keep in mind: Since some foods, like vegetables, fruits and others are naturally gluten-free, they may not always be labeled “gluten-free.” But, by using some of the best practices above, you can feel confident that your milk and most other dairy foods are indeed gluten-free.