Vegan & Gluten-Free Birthday Cake by Granny
When Eggs Might Not Be Gluten-Free
It's also true that someverysensitive people with celiac or gluten sensitivity have reported problems with eggs from chickens fed a heavy diet of grains. However, this will not be a problem for the vast majority of people following the gluten-free diet (more on this in a minute).
For most of us, any problems with eggs most likely stem from one of two places: gluten cross-contamination when the eggs are cooked, or from a sensitivity to the eggs themselves (eggs are one of the top eight allergens in the U.S., so it's not unusual for someone to suffer from sensitivities to both eggs and gluten).
Dining Out Gluten-Free for Breakfast
When you're following the and you eat eggs out, you need to be quite careful.
Many restaurants that serve breakfast cook their eggs on the same grill as French toast and pancakes ... and that will thoroughly cross-contaminate your otherwise perfectly safe meal. In addition, some restaurants (the International House of Pancakes, for one) actually mix a little pancake batter into their scrambled eggs and omelets to make them fluffier (yikes!).
To stay safe eating eggs at a restaurant, I follow my rules for eating out safely gluten-free. Specifically, I ask that my eggs be prepared in their own, clean pan using clean utensils, as far away as possible from where any pancake batter or toast is being prepared. I've had pretty decent success doing this, although you always need to be super-careful.
Can Gluten-Eating Chickens Produce Gluten-Containing Eggs?
A few people who areextremelysensitive to trace gluten have reported (i.e., gluten reactions) when they eat eggs from chickens that eat mainly wheat and barley. These same people say they are fine when they eat eggs they obtain from farmers who don't feed their chickens gluten grains.
Now, this may seem pretty far-fetched, but there's actually a small amount of indirect scientific evidence that indicates it may be theoretically possible for proteins or protein fragments to pass from chicken feed into the eggs themselves (gluten is a protein).
An Ohio State University graduate student experimented with feeding chickens a diet high in soy protein to see if he could influence the amount of soy isoflavones (a component of soy protein) in those chickens' eggs. He found that he could: chickens fed the high-soy diet routinely produced eggs higher in isoflavones.
Now, obviously this experiment did not involve gluten grains, and other scientists argue that you can't extend the conclusions of the soy isoflavone experiment to gluten grains. However, this research indicates it may be theoretically possible for gluten-eating chickens to produce eggs that contain a tiny bit of gluten protein (or, more likely, gluten protein fragments).
If these eggs did have gluten in them, it would be averysmall amount—likely far, far below even 1 part per million (for comparison, foods are generally considered "gluten-free" if they contain fewer than 20 parts per million of gluten, or are less than 0.0001% gluten). Commercially available tests for gluten in foods can't reliably detect gluten below around 3 parts per million (and can't detect small fragments of gluten protein at all) so it's impossible to say how much gluten or gluten fragments, if any, actually is in these eggs.
The Bottom Line
This is not a problem for thevast majorityof people on the gluten-free diet. But yes, there are people who seem to be sensitive to gluten at those levels, and they've reported seeing their symptoms resolve when they drop eggs from gluten-fed chickens. They've been able to eat eggs again by sourcing them directly from farmers who don't feed their chickens gluten grains. This isn't evidence that gluten can be present in eggs, but it does raise the question.
So what can you do if you believe you're getting glutened from your eggs? Well, there's also a growing number of small farmers who advertise soy-free eggs for people who are sensitive to soy proteins, and some are extending this to gluten grains. You can look around your area to see if truly free-range eggs are available.
Video: Allergy Friendly Pancakes: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free
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