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The Difference Between Paleo and Gluten-Free

paleo-gluten-free-585Here’s a question we’ve gotten a lot lately: What’s the difference between Paleo and gluten-free? Followed closely by, is Paleo gluten-free? And, is gluten-free Paleo? And the answer is pretty simple, albeit a touch confusing. Here’s what you need to know!

Paleo is always gluten-free.

This is the law of the Paleo land. Paleo is always gluten-free. Always. Gluten is a general name for proteins found in wheat, and seeing that the Paleo way of eating doesn’t include any grains, wheat (and therefore gluten) is a no-go. (The Paleo way of eating also nixes dairy and legumes, so you primarily eat fruits, veggies, meat, seeds and nuts.)

Gluten-free is not always Paleo.

Now things get tricky! Just because an item is gluten-free, it doesn’t mean that it’s Paleo friendly. It may be, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few examples:
Rice Chex cereal: gluten-free, but not Paleo (because rice is a grain)
Coconut water: gluten-free and Paleo
Greek yogurt: gluten-free, but not Paleo (because dairy is not Paleo)
Steak: gluten-free and Paleo (and delicious)
Beer: not gluten-free and not Paleo (although this is one of the things a lot of Paleo people might fudge on a bit)

Eat in a way that makes you feel awesome. No matter what that is.

You know how we feel about strict “diets.” So, unless you are Celiac or have a gluten insensitivity or an allergy, we recommend you eat in a way — no matter what the label is — that makes you feel awesome. Maybe that’s eating fewer grains or less dairy, maybe that’s going 100 percent Paleo or cutting out gluten or eating in a more plant-based way, or maybe it’s just you creating your own unique way of eating. We’re all different, so avoid the hype and do what works for YOU!
Does that help clear things up? What question should we answer next? —Jenn

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!