Gluten-free has grown over the years into a catchphrase when it comes to the health and well-being industry.
It became quite trendy to become gluten-free, which then created a huge amount of foods being made to cater to those who prefer to eat the gluten-free way.
For some, however, having a gluten-free diet is not a choice but a necessity. It is important if you have an intolerance to gluten that you read the labels and be on the lookout for hidden ingredients that can be in some foods, such as powdered sugar.
Is Powdered Sugar Gluten-Free?
When powdered sugar is prepared at home using granulated sugar and no extra additives, then there is not going to be any gluten found. When the powdered sugar is created in an industrial setting, most brands will add an anti-caking agent that helps to improve the flow and to stop lumps from forming. The anti-caking agents have certain starches in them which have some degree of gluten. If the powdered sugar has been made in a factory where wheat is also being processed, unfortunately, you are going to get a presence of gluten inside the product despite none actually being added. If you do have a sensitivity to gluten, then you need to check the packaging to see which sort of starch has been added. You want either tapioca starch or cornstarch as these types do not contain any gluten.
Why Is Starch Used in Powdered Sugar?
The ratio of sugar to cornstarch is 97% sugar to 3% cornstarch. When starch has been added to the sugar, it prevents the sugar from clumping. Gluten is actually a wheat product, so pure cornstarch, in theory, does not contain any gluten.
If you suffer from celiac disease, then you know that just the tiniest bit of gluten can create symptoms. You cannot rely on factories to ensure that their food is not being cross-contaminated.
What Exactly is Powdered Sugar?
Powdered sugar, or as some call it confectioners’ sugar, is a very fine powdered sugar that has been created by milling normal granulated sugar into a powder.
Powdered sugar is used for different foods that need sugar in the form of quick-dissolving. For those using powdered sugar at home, use it to frost cakes and decorate cupcakes.
Both the food industry and the home bakers use this type of sugar not only to decorate with but also to add a mild sweetness to foods either mixed in or dusted on top of the food.
What Exactly Is Gluten?
Gluten is actually two proteins combined together and found in cereal grains. Most commonly barley, wheat, and rye.
Gluten gives dough elasticity and works like glue to form foods together to maintain their shape. Gluten is found in many other foods, even foods that don’t deliberately have it present.
Gluten is actually good for you; it is only bad for those with an intolerance.
If you are gluten intolerant, then your body creates the wrong immune response when it breaks down the gluten as it goes through the digestion process.
Gluten sensitivity is quite common, with around 16 million suffering from it, according to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.
What About Organic Powdered Sugar, Does It Have Gluten?
The truth here is that brands like the Wholesome Fair Trade Organic Powdered Sugar have 100% certified sugar cane and are produced and grown without chemicals, pesticides, or herbicides.
If you are making a simple frosting from the icing with the organic type, you would see a golden color that tastes like toffee due to the natural molasses that has been retained in the unbleached and unrefined organic sugar.
Organic sugar is naturally gluten-free and can be used as a substitute for refined powdered sugar. It can be used in the same way as refined such as dusting on cakes or adding to French toast as suggested by Organic Powdered Sugar – Wholesome (wholesomesweet.com).
Organic white powdered sugar does not have the chalky, overpowering sweetness that the refined stuff does.
Wholesome organic powdered sugar does not have GMO cornstarch and is blended with organic tapioca instead. Organic powdered sugar is not just gluten-free but also animal product-free and no bone char.
How Can I Be Sure There Isn’t Any Gluten In My Powdered Sugar?
Unfortunately, you cannot be 100 percent sure if you are buying from a store. If you are making your own at home and ensuring the sugar you are buying is gluten-free makes you pretty safe.
If you are at risk of getting sick by consuming gluten even in small amounts, then you can purchase test strips that can measure how much gluten is found in the food you are testing.
Powdered sugar can be gluten-free if you take the time to carefully read the packaging and read the ingredients that are listed.
If you have a reaction to gluten, then it is advisable that you consider making the powdered sugar yourself, so you know exactly what the ingredients are in there and how much.
FAQ About Powdered Sugar and Gluten
How Is Powdered Sugar Made?
Powdered sugar is made by grinding down sugar to a powder, then add tapioca to stop it from clumping together.
Can You Make Gluten-Free Powdered Sugar At Home?
You can buy just using organic granulated sugar and grinding it down using a mortar and pestle or, better yet, a coffee grinder or power blender, then add your own gluten-free caking agent.