Health & Fitness

Are Corn Tortillas Gluten Free? Check The Real Facts!

Corn tortillas are a type of thin, round, unleavened bread made with fresh masa from corn that has been treated with lime in a process ...

by Kendra Reed

Are Corn Tortillas Gluten Free? Check The Real Facts!

Corn tortillas are a type of thin, round, unleavened bread made with fresh masa from corn that has been treated with lime in a process called nixtamalization. The nixtamalization process causes the skin of the corn kernels to peel off. Talking about the nutritional facts of corn tortillas, since it is made from whole grains, it contains fewer calories, sodium, carbs, and more fiber than flour tortillas.

Corn tortillas are easy to make and they are naturally gluten-free. Homemade corn tortillas are gluten-free and vegan but store-bought corn tortillas may contain gluten or lard. So, check for labels to ensure they are gluten and vegan before purchasing. It is always better to make it at home than purchasing from stores, as it is fresh, safe, and less expensive. 

Talking about the importance of gluten-free options in modern diets, gluten-free food items help reduce health complications and are healthier. Gluten-free diets help improve health, support weight loss, and increase energy. This diet has been popular among those who haven’t been diagnosed with gluten-related medical conditions. 

Understanding gluten: what is it and why does it matter?

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, gluten is a protein present in the wheat plant and some other grains. Gluten is naturally occurring but can also be extracted and added to other food products to add protein, flavor, or texture.

Common sources of gluten include wheat, barley, rye, malt, and triticale. Gluten, found in whole grains, is beneficial for those whose bodies can tolerate it. Maintaining a gluten-free diet is necessary for those with celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders. Following a gluten-free diet helps prevent severe discomfort and side effects in those struggling with celiac disease. A gluten-free diet includes eating only whole foods that do not contain gluten. They include;

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Non-processed meat, fish, and poultry
  • Beans, nuts, and legumes in unprocessed forms
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Tapioca
  • Flax
  • Cornmeal
  • Arrowroot
  • Amaranth
  • Gluten-free flours, such as soy, rice, potato, and bean flour
  • Millet
  • Buckwheat  
  • Gluten-free pasta 

Foods that contain gluten are a good source of nutrients, including protein and iron. However, there are plenty of health issues associated with gluten sensitivity. They include celiac disease, wheat allergy, celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten ataxia, and dermatitis herpetiformis.

These conditions are normally found in those whose digestive system cannot tolerate any form of the protein gluten. Those with gluten sensitivity will experience symptoms like inflammation, fatigue, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and gassiness if consumed. 

The composition of corn tortillas

Corn tortillas are made of coarse masa flour or fresh masa made from corn that is treated with lime in a process called nixtamalization. Corn is composed of 62% starch and the corn kernel is composed of 19% protein and fiber, 15% water, and 4% oil. An uncooked tortilla consists of 45% carbohydrates, 3% fat, and 6% protein. A raw tortilla provides 218 calories in a 100-gram reference amount. 

Discover the Gluten-Free Nature of Corn Tortillas

Are corn tortillas naturally gluten-free?

Corn is naturally gluten-free, which makes it a safe and tasty option for those with gluten sensitivity or intolerance. Corn is a suitable substitute for those with gluten-free diets. Even though corn is gluten-free, corn that comes with sauces or other ingredients might contain protein or gluten. Always check the ingredient label to ensure the product is truly gluten-free.

Gluten-free products like pasta are made out of corn but depending on how sensitive you are to gluten, you need to ensure that the product is really gluten-free by contacting the manufacturer. Palin corn is 100% gluten-free. However, when corn is added with other ingredients like sauce, salt, or butter, it may not be gluten-free anymore. Even if you are not using fresh corn, most frozen or canned corn does not contain gluten ingredients. 

Corn vs wheat tortillas: a gluten comparison

According to ResearchGate, corn tortillas were found to be slightly lower in protein, niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin when compared to the white-enriched bread. However, corn tortillas are considered a healthier and better alternative to flour tortillas.

Corn tortillas are made from whole grain with fewer calories, sodium, and crabs, which makes them the best option for gluten-free diets. Corn tortillas are gluten-free but some people complain that corn tortillas break easily, which may make it hard to use.

Even though wheat tortillas contain more protein, corn tortillas are the best option for those who have wheat allergy, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or celiac disease. When it comes to nutrition, corn tortillas have the advantage of being made from whole grains, with fewer calories and no gluten. So, it can be said that corn tortillas are the better choice for those following a gluten-free diet. 

How to ensure your corn tortillas are gluten-free?

To determine whether corn tortillas are gluten-free or not, check the product’s ingredient list. Corn is naturally gluten-free, and corn tortillas are made out of corn flour, salt, and water and these ingredients do not contain gluten. However, if corn tortillas are processed or contain some kind of additives, they may contain gluten content.

Before purchasing corn tortillas, ensure you read the labels and understand the ingredient list thoroughly to ensure they are gluten-free. On the other hand, if you make corn tortillas at home you can be relieved by the fact that they will be 100% gluten-free. 

Health benefits of choosing corn tortillas

The first and foremost advantage of choosing corn tortillas over other alternatives is that they are gluten-free and have fewer calories. They also contain fewer calories, sodium, carbs, and more fiber than wheat tortillas. Even though wheat tortillas are made with whole wheat flour rather than refined white flour, corn tortillas seem to be a better choice for those with gluten sensitivity.

Corn is naturally gluten-free and thus corn tortillas are the best choice to add to gluten-free diets. Those with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and other gluten-related health conditions will find corn tortillas beneficial as it is healthier and gluten-free. Also, corn tortillas are a good source of fiber and magnesium. Since fiber is important for digestion and heart health, adding corn tortillas to the diet can benefit overall health and wellness. 

Conclusion

Corn is naturally gluten-free and really nutritious. Corn tortillas are made of corn flour, salt, and water, which makes them gluten-free. The nutritional facts about corn tortillas are that they are made out of whole grains, so they contain fewer calories, sodium, carbs, and more fiber than other alternatives.

Homemade corn tortillas are gluten-free and vegan but store-bought corn tortillas may contain gluten ingredients. So, it is always better to make them at home. However, if you insist on purchasing it, check for the ingredient labels to ensure they are gluten-free.

Gluten-free diets are always a better option as they provide various health benefits and reduce various health complications. Some gluten-free food items include fruits, vegetables, non-processed meat, beans, nuts, arrowroot, cornmeal, and eggs. Those with glucose sensitivity, celiac disease, wheat allergy, celiac disease, gluten ataxia, and other gluten-related disorders. 

Corn tortillas are said to be slightly lower in protein, niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin when compared to white tortillas. However, corn tortillas are considered a healthier and better alternative to flour tortillas, as corn tortillas are made from whole grain with fewer calories, sodium, and crabs, which makes them the best option for gluten-free diets. Thus, corn tortillas can be an ideal substitute for those with gluten-related allergies. Remember, it is always better to make them at home than purchasing from stores, as they are more fresh, safe, and less expensive. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are all corn tortilla chips gluten-free?

Most corn tortilla chips are made with corn, which is gluten-free. They do not contain any gluten ingredients but when they are prepared with other ingredients, they may contain gluten. 

2. Can you eat corn tortillas with celiac disease?

Since corn tortillas are made from 100% corn they are safe and healthier for people with celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders. Those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can eat corn tortillas, as they are free of gluten. 

3. Are corn tortillas healthy?

Corn tortillas are healthy as they contain fiber and magnesium, which help with digestion, muscle function, and health health. They are gluten-free and more nutritious than other alternatives. 

4. Are tortilla taco shells gluten-free?

Since tortilla taco shells are made out of corn meal, they are gluten-free. If you are allergic to gluten or have any sensitivity, 100% corn tortillas or taco shells are the best option. 

Author

  • Kendra Reed

    Dr. Kendra Reed is a dedicated general medicine physician with 7 years of clinical experience. After graduating from medical school, she completed her residency in internal medicine, developing a well-rounded skillset in diagnosing and treating a diverse range of conditions. Patients appreciate Dr. Reed's warm bedside manner and commitment to providing comprehensive, personalized care. In addition to her clinical work, she is actively involved in community outreach programs, educating the public on important health topics. Dr. Reed is known for her ability to establish trusting relationships with her patients and help them achieve their wellness goals.

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