Most people are not aware that they might be eating gluten if they eat potatoes. The truth is that gluten is not the same protein found in wheat, oats, and rye (and even product derivatives created from these grains) but not just potatoes! But people with gluten intolerance often have to exercise caution when it comes to their diets. After all, like rice, potatoes are also a staple on the gluten free diet. So how do you know if you should avoid them or if they are okay?
The short answer: if you want to avoid gluten, avoid French fries! Or at least make them a low priority. There are many other acceptable foods that are safe to eat as part of a gluten free diet, including: black beans, corn, peas, mushrooms, spinach, turnips, cabbage, tomatoes, squash, potatoes, and rice. If you enjoy spicy food, French fries may not be the best choice for you, as spicy sauces can aggravate your allergies. But then again, if you are one of those people who does love French fries, this is one delicious food to try in moderation.
If you are not sure that your diet is gluten-free, look for the gluten label on the packaging. Often, it will read “gluten-free” rather than “vegetarian”. This is because in general, the ingredients used to make gluten-free fries and chicken nuggets are the same ones used to prepare meat-based meals. In addition, some manufacturers may use breading or marinades rather than the vegetable oils that are sometimes included in cooking. In other words, it is not always true that you are going to be eating tofu and corn or pea soup and French fries; sometimes you will be eating a chocolate sauce on a baguette, for example.
Many potato chips, especially those frozen at the store, do contain gluten. Look for the words “gluten-free” on the package or on the back of the package. Many brands now specialize in both vegetarian and gluten free snacks and treats. You can often find these chips in the cafeteria style portion or in a giant chip bag. Many potato chips come already cooked and ready to eat, while others come pre-cooked so you simply need to open the bag and dip into the bowl or into the chip itself.
Some quick searches for “are potatoes gluten free” on Google should give you plenty of suggestions for foods to snack on that are free of gluten. French fries are probably the most commonly found in foods, followed by corn chips and cheese. It is certainly not difficult to find products that are free of gluten, as long as you are willing to look. Many people have adapted their eating habits to eliminate gluten from their diet; there are even products that are labeled as “gluten free” that are really not true. These “gluten free” items are more likely to contain things like artificial flavors and additives.
While it is possible to find foods that contain gluten that are not as bad for you as other foods that are not free, nothing beats potatoes in most cases. They are easy to store, easy to prepare and easy to eat. If you have trouble stomachs, French fries are not your cup of tea. But if you have occasional problems with your digestive system, French fries are probably going to be right up your alley.