Does Gluten-Free Bread Have Carbs? The Truth About Gluten-Free & Keto

Many people are beginning to adopt a gluten-free diet, and as the keto diet is also gaining popularity, a recurring question arises: Can the two diets work together? And where does bread fit into this diet?

Dieticians often recommend gluten-free diets to people with coeliac disease or gluten intolerance. Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks your small intestine, shortening its lining and affecting nutrients’ absorption. In some people, an abnormal immune response is triggered when the body is exposed to gluten.

The condition can be avoided with a strict gluten-free diet. However, through the years, the gluten-free diet has also gained a reputation as a weight-loss trend and is assumed by many to be a low-carb diet. Specialized gluten-free breads replace wheat flour with gluten-free alternatives, so they’re safe to eat for coeliac.

So, how many carbs does gluten-free bread have? Unfortunately, gluten-free bread is high in carbs, with approximately the same carbohydrate count as wheat-based bread: around 14 grams per slice. It’s also important to note that gluten-free bread is usually not the same as low-carb bread, so gluten-free bread isn’t keto-friendly unless it’s made from specific low carb flours.

Should you replace your everyday bread with its gluten-free counterpart? Is gluten-free bread better for keto diets than regular bread? Read this article to learn the answers!

What is Gluten-Free Bread Made From?

Gluten is a group of proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye. It includes two proteins called gliadins and glutenins, which act as a binder, keeping flour-based foods together and giving bread that nice chewy texture. A good analogy would be a piece of fresh dough being stretched by a pizza chef. Without gluten, the dough would not stretch; it would just fall apart.

Classic bread recipes use grain flour, water, yeast, and salt as primary ingredients. Traditional grains used in making these breads naturally contain a lot of gluten.

Gluten-free bread, on the other hand, does not contain these grains. So how does gluten-free bread hold together? The preparation of this kind of bread involves replacing gluten with similar ingredients that do the same task of binding the dough.

This basically means using other kinds of grains as an alternative to wheat. Rice, almonds, buckwheat, chickpeas, sorghum, quinoa and millet are examples of naturally gluten-free grains and legumes that can be processed into flour. Other flours that don’t have gluten include amaranth, arrowroot, cassava, coconut, sorghum, tapioca, and teff flours.

There are also gluten-free, all-purpose flour blends available on the market, combining several different flours for an ideal flavour and texture. When choosing a gluten-free flour blend, look for those that contain psyllium husk, xanthan gum or guar gum. Gums are used as an alternative to gluten and give the bread a similar texture as wheat-based bread.

Gluten-free flours can be purchased in supermarkets and health food stores in Australia. Of course, you can also buy many gluten-free flours online.

Is Gluten-Free Bread Healthy?

Gluten-free bread is the healthiest option for people diagnosed with coeliac disease. The absence of gluten in their diet prevents the triggering of the unwanted autoimmune response. But what about those healthy people who want to adopt a gluten-free diet for weight loss? Well, here’s the thing: recent research reveals that there is no proof that a gluten-free diet is effective for weight loss or offers any general health benefits. In fact, it’s the carbohydrates, calories, and sugar content in traditional bread that has the most significant impact on weight gain, not gluten.

It’s possible to lose weight on a gluten-free diet if you’re replacing bread, pasta and other carbs with healthy and low-calorie alternatives, like salad and veggies. However, just switching from regular to gluten-free options doesn’t offer many nutritional benefits.
Looking at the nutritional profile of the average gluten-free bread, it contains slightly fewer calories than wheat-based bread but also contains more sugar and less protein. 28 grams of gluten-free bread contains 77 calories, as opposed to 83 calories in the same
quantity of regular bread. However, gluten-free bread only has 1.5 grams of protein compared to 3.1 grams in wholemeal bread. And while a slice of wheat bread contains 1.7 grams of sugar, the average gluten-free bread contains 3.2 grams.

Gluten-free breads are often sweeter and more processed than regular bread, requiring more additives to make up for the lack of gluten. Of course, not every gluten-free bread is identical, and homemade recipes can be healthier than store-bought options. But essentially, gluten-free breads just replace wheat flour with alternative flours – that doesn’t mean it’s any better for you.

Thus, you can see that gluten-free bread doesn’t have the characteristics of a ‘health food’ or the right nutrition to support weight loss. The main characteristic of gluten-free bread is just the absence of gluten, and the lack of gluten primarily helps those with coeliac disease. So if you want to lose weight or maintain optimal health, you don’t need to switch from your usual bread to a gluten-free alternative. But if you’re following a keto diet or other low-carb eating plan, the biggest question you have is probably how the carbohydrate count of gluten-free bread compares. Let’s take a look at whether gluten-free bread is keto-friendly.

Does Gluten-Free Bread Have Less Carbs?

Carbohydrates are found in most foods, but starchy cereals and grain-based foods are generally the highest in carbs. When swapping wheat for other flours, most of the alternatives are also reasonably high carb, even if they don’t contain gluten.

For that reason, gluten-free bread isn’t necessarily lower in carbs than standard bread. In fact, the typical carbohydrate yield of gluten-free bread and white or whole meal bread is approximately the same, at 14 grams per 28-gram serving.

However, because they’re based on different grains, they do differ in other nutrients such as protein, fat, sodium, potassium, calcium, and iron. Some gluten-free flours also have a different macronutrient ratio, being higher in protein and lower in carbs, particularly those made from nuts and seeds.

Gluten-free bread made with some alternative flours – like almond or coconut flour – are also low in carbs. Keep reading to find out exactly which flours are keto-friendly and which to avoid.

Is Gluten-Free Bread Keto Friendly?

A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that is designed to trigger a metabolic process called ketosis. Ketosis forces your body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates.

Being relatively high in carbohydrates and low in fat, the macronutrient split of both regular and gluten-free breads is the opposite of what is considered keto-friendly. Thus, in general, most gluten-free bread isn’t suitable for a keto diet.

Think of it this way: a keto diet and a gluten-free diet are very different in approach. A keto diet is all about keeping your diet high in fat and low in carbs. A gluten-free diet is about removing or replacing gluten with other ingredients that act like gluten. A keto diet is geared towards weight loss, while a gluten-free diet is about avoiding an autoimmune reaction (or digestive intolerance).

Can you include gluten-free bread in your keto diet? Well, it’s certainly not easy. With a daily carbohydrate goal of between 20 grams and 50 grams, one gluten-free slice of bread will consume most of your daily allowance. Most commercially available low carb breads are even higher in gluten than normal bread, since gluten is a type of protein.

However, there are recipes you can make yourself for a gluten-free and keto-friendly alternative. If baking bread from scratch is too time-consuming, there are a few good bread mixes on the market that tick both boxes.

What Flours Are Low Carb and Gluten-Free?

Keto-friendly flours that are also gluten-free include:Almond flour

Best Low Carb Gluten-Free Bread

There are low carb, gluten-free breads that fit perfectly into a keto and gluten-free diet.

My favourite recipe is the Microwave Keto Bread found in my Keto Basics eBook. It only takes 4 minutes of prep time and 1.5 minutes in the microwave, and all the ingredients are gluten-free. With only 2 grams of net carbs per serving, it’s easy and versatile enough to go with every meal. Try making your own bacon and egg muffin with Microwave Keto Bread for a low-carb alternative to the McDonalds favourite.

Chia Almond Bread is also a good option, with a similar texture to wholemeal bread. This recipe replaces flour with almond flour, coconut flour and chia seeds – all gluten-free ingredients and low in carbohydrates too. It has a total of 2.4 grams of net carbs per slice.

There are also low carb bread mixes available to buy in Australia, either online or at health food stores. Some do contain gluten, but a popular gluten-free option is the Protein Bread Mix from PBC. All you need to do is add some basic ingredients, like eggs and water. It yields a total of 2.5 grams of carbs per serving.

The main ingredient is lupin flour, made from a low-carb legume similar to soybeans. If you choose the seeded variety, it’s also full of crunch, with linseeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas and chia seeds. The classic formula takes an hour to bake and has 2.2 grams of carbs per serving, while the seeded bread has 2.5 grams.

Sukrin also stocks a low-carb bread mix which is low gluten – typically okay for people with intolerance but not recommended for coeliacs. You can also order the Mad Creations sandwich bread mix from the same store, which is both gluten- and dairy-free.


Related Questions

Which Bread Is Lowest In Carbs?

Breads are generally high in carbs, but there are many low-carb and keto-friendly recipes out there. Low-carb breads typically use alternative flours like almond, coconut, and lupin flour, all of which are much lower in carbs than grain flours. The lowest-carb bread available to purchase in Australia is the Vitality Homestyle Low Carb Loaf available in selected Coles supermarkets, with only 3.1 grams of net carbs per two slices.

What Can I Substitute For Bread on a Keto Diet?

You can buy low carb bread in many supermarkets and health food stores or bake your own keto-friendly bread at home. One of the most popular low-carb bread recipes out there is cloud bread. A 28-gram serving has 0.2 grams of net carbs and 9 grams of fat,
which is fantastic for a keto diet. Alternatively, you can also substitute bread with keto-friendly wraps.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that if you click through and buy something, I may get a (very) small commission. This doesn’t cost you any extra and helps me build my passion for keto cooking into a livelihood. All opinions and recommendations reflect my own views.

Note: All nutritional values and product information is accurate at the time of posting, but you should always check the label, especially when it comes to allergens or other health concerns. Information shared through this blog is derived from my own experience and learning – for any medical advice regarding diet and nutrition, or before changing your diet drastically, I recommend consulting a doctor or nutritionist.