Beer is a popular alcoholic drink that people worldwide have been enjoying for thousands of years (1Trusted Source).
In fact, it's the third most popular beverage behind water and tea (2Trusted Source).
Typically, beer is made using water, hops, yeast, and barley — a grain that contains gluten (3Trusted Source).
This article examines the gluten content of beer and how much gluten is in several main types, as well as whether any are safe for individuals with celiac disease.
How Most Beer is Made
Brewing beer is a complex process involving fermentation.
Beer brewing usually involves four main ingredients (5Trusted Source):
- Water. Typically comprising more than 90% of the final product, water is the main ingredient.
- Hops. This special flower is traditionally added to provide a unique, bitter taste.
- Grain. Serving as a source of sugar for fermentation, the most commonly used grains are barley, wheat, and rye — all of which contain gluten (6Trusted Source).
- Yeast. This live, single-celled organism digests sugar to produce alcohol.
Breweries may also use other grains, flavorings, and additives to give their beer unique colors, tastes, and aromas. Some of these may also contain gluten.
Types of Beer and Gluten Content
Individuals with celiac disease must completely exclude gluten from their diets. In these people, it can damage the intestines, as well as cause stomach pain, diarrhea, unexplained weight loss, and poor absorption of nutrients (7Trusted Source).
That's why it's critical for anyone with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity to be aware of the gluten content of their foods and beverages, including beer.
The amount of gluten in beer is measured in parts per million (ppm).
In most countries, food and beverages must contain fewer than 20 ppm of gluten to be considered gluten-free (8Trusted Source).
Most conventionally brewed beer contains far more than 20 ppm of gluten, though the exact amount varies depending on the brewing process and ingredients used.
- Lager: 63 ppm
- Stout: 361 ppm
- Ales: 3,120 ppm
- Wheat beer: 25,920 ppm
As you can see, the most common types of beer contain levels of gluten that are unsafe for people with celiac disease.
Most beer is made using grains and other additives that contain gluten, which makes it unsafe for individuals with celiac disease.
In most countries — including the United States, Canada, and many European countries — beer must have fewer than 20 ppm of gluten to be labeled gluten-free (11Trusted Source).
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests most individuals with celiac disease can consume this level of gluten without adverse effects (12Trusted Source).
Additionally, some breweries are dedicated gluten-free facilities to help avoid cross-contamination with gluten during the brewing process.
Other breweries have developed techniques to reduce gluten in traditional, barley-based beer, producing gluten-removed beer (14).
However, there is no guarantee that gluten-removed beer is safe for individuals with celiac disease. Though it has been processed to help reduce the gluten content, there is no reliable test to verify the amount of gluten they contain (15Trusted Source).
For individuals with celiac disease, it's best to stick with varieties labeled gluten-free.
Beer labeled gluten-free is likely safe for individuals with celiac disease. These varieties are made using gluten-free grains in facilities that prevent cross-contamination with gluten.
How to Find Gluten-Free Beer
Ask your local beer vendor to show you their selection of gluten-free beer, then make sure you're buying the right product by reading the packaging carefully.
Look for phrases or symbols indicating the product is gluten-free. Keep in mind that labeling standards vary by country.
If it's not clear whether your beer of choice contains gluten, it may be beneficial to contact the manufacturer directly or choose a different variety with straightforward labeling.
Alternatively, consider opting for wine or distilled liquors, as these are typically gluten-free. However, keep in mind that products vary. Regardless of the beverage you choose, it's best to examine the label carefully.
To make sure you're buying gluten-free beer, carefully read the packaging for regulated phrases or symbols that indicate the product is gluten-free. Many brands will say this explicitly on the label.
The Bottom Line
Most beer contains gluten, as it's traditionally brewed using gluten-containing grains — usually barley, wheat, or rye.
However, there are plenty of gluten-free options. Several varieties are made using gluten-free grains, and many breweries are dedicated gluten-free facilities.
Since most countries abide by strict labeling standards, varieties that bear a regulated gluten-free label are likely safe for individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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One of nature's epic events is underway: Monarch butterflies' fall migration. Departing from all across the United States and Canada, the butterflies travel up to 2,500 miles to cluster at the same locations in Mexico or along the Pacific Coast where their great-grandparents spent the previous winter.
Millions of People Care About Monarchs<p>I will never forget the sights and sounds the first time I visited monarchs' overwintering sites in Mexico. Our guide pointed in the distance to what looked like hanging branches covered with dead leaves. But then I saw the leaves flash orange every so often, revealing what were actually thousands of tightly packed butterflies. The monarchs made their most striking sounds in the Sun, when they burst from the trees in massive fluttering plumes or landed on the ground in the tussle of mating.</p><p>Decades of educational outreach by teachers, researchers and hobbyists has cultivated a generation of monarch admirers who want to help preserve this phenomenon. This global network has helped restore not only monarchs' summer breeding habitat by planting milkweed, but also general pollinator habitat by planting nectaring flowers across North America.</p><p>Scientists have calculated that restoring the monarch population to a stable level of about 120 million butterflies will require <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/icad.12198" target="_blank">planting 1.6 billion new milkweed stems</a>. And they need them fast. This is too large a target to achieve through grassroots efforts alone. A <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/CCAA.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">new plan</a>, announced in the spring of 2020, is designed to help fill the gap.</p>
Pros and Cons of Regulation<p>The top-down strategy for saving monarchs gained energy in 2014, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service <a href="https://www.fws.gov/southeast/pdf/petition/monarch.pdf" target="_blank">proposed</a> listing them as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A decision is expected in December 2020.</p><p>Listing a species as endangered or threatened <a href="https://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/listing.pdf" target="_blank">triggers restrictions</a> on "taking" (hunting, collecting or killing), transporting or selling it, and on activities that negatively affect its habitat. Listing monarchs would impose restrictions on landowners in areas where monarchs are found, over vast swaths of land in the U.S.</p><p>In my opinion, this is not a reason to avoid a listing. However, a "threatened" listing might inadvertently threaten one of the best conservation tools that we have: public education.</p><p>It would severely restrict common practices, such as rearing monarchs in classrooms and back yards, as well as scientific research. Anyone who wants to take monarchs and milkweed for these purposes would have to apply for special permits. But these efforts have had a multigenerational educational impact, and they should be protected. Few public campaigns have been more successful at raising awareness of conservation issues.</p>
<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="91165203d4ec0efc30e4632a00fdf57d"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KilPRvjbMrA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
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