Are Sprouted Grains Gluten-Free?

Ezekiel bread

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Rumors have circulated for more than a decade that sprouted grains—i.e., grains that have germinated—are gluten-free, especially when used in certain types of bread, even if they start out containing gluten. Despite these rumors, however, this just isn't true.

Some people may conflate "gluten-free" with "healthy eating" (or "gluten-free" with "organic"), which may contribute to some of the confusion. Sprouted bread is considered healthy, and so is the gluten-free diet—and so the two must go together, right? Not exactly.

Sprouted Grains vs. Gluten-Free

Gluten is a protein that grass plants store in their seeds, which we know as their grains. When a seed germinates, it begins to use up some of the gluten in order to nourish the growing plant. But plenty of gluten still remains in the sprouts. This means that there is still gluten in sprouted wheat bread—more than enough to render any bread made from the sprouted wheat most definitely not gluten-free.

Sprouted grains are definitely not gluten-free if the grains in question are wheat, barley, rye, or close relatives of those grains.

Ezekiel Bread

Ezekiel 4:9 bread, offered in several different varieties by manufacturer Food for Life, was inspired by the Bible verse that states in part: "Take also unto thee Wheat, and Barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and Spelt, and put them in one vessel, and make bread of it."

As you can see, the Bible verse in question mentions three different types of gluten-containing grains: wheat, barley, and spelt. And sure enough, Ezekiel 4:9 bread contains organic, sprouted versions of all three of these, along with sprouted millet, sprouted lentils, and sprouted soybeans.

Ezekiel bread contains organic wheat gluten, which means that it is most definitely not gluten-free.

Food for Life also makes other products that are gluten-free, including a wide variety of both sprouted and un-sprouted gluten-free bread. Just make sure you don't pick up the wrong bread, since many supermarkets display all the products together in their frozen food aisle.

Other Gluten-Free Grains

Gluten-free grains, such as buckwheat and millet, should be safe when sprouted and used in bread and other products. Just make sure that they're not combined with gluten-containing grains, as they are in Ezekiel 4:9 bread.

A Word From Verywell

If a bread lists "sprouted wheat" on its ingredients—or any of the names for various forms of wheat, including Kamut, spelt, Einkorn, and bulgur—you need to avoid that bread if you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

The same goes for breads or other products containing sprouted rye or sprouted barley, both of which also are gluten-containing grains. Always read ingredient labels carefully to ensure you stay safe.

Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

By Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson is a medical journalist and an expert in celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and the gluten-free diet.