Is gluten-free bread OK to eat on keto diet?

Gluten-free breads have become increasingly popular, not just for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, but also for people following low-carb and keto diets. But is gluten-free bread actually a good option on the keto diet?

The answer isn’t quite as straightforward as you may think. While going gluten-free does automatically mean cutting out many carb-heavy grain products, gluten-free replacement foods often contain just as many carbs or even more. Additionally, the ingredients used to make gluten-free bread can affect blood sugar and insulin levels differently than traditional bread.

This article will take a detailed look at gluten-free bread and its compatibility with a keto diet. We’ll discuss the carb count and ingredients in popular gluten-free bread options and provide tips for choosing a keto-friendly gluten-free bread.

What is Gluten?

Before discussing gluten-free bread, it helps to understand what gluten is and why some people need to avoid it.

Gluten is a group of proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale. It acts as a “glue” that helps bread dough rise and gives bread its chewy texture. Some people, such as those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, experience negative immune reactions and digestive symptoms when they eat gluten.

Avoiding gluten means avoiding products made with wheat, rye, barley, and triticale flours. This includes most breads, pastas, cereals, baked goods, etc. Naturally gluten-free grains and flours include rice, corn, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, sorghum, oats, and nut flours.

Why Go Gluten-Free on a Keto Diet?

The ketogenic or “keto” diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that forces the body to burn ketones for fuel instead of glucose. It limits net carbs to 20-50 grams per day.

Some people choose to cut out gluten on a keto diet for these reasons:

  • Going gluten-free eliminates carb sources like bread, pasta, cereals, etc. This can help reduce overall carb intake.
  • Those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity need to avoid gluten to manage symptoms.
  • Some report feeling better digestively when going gluten-free on keto diets.
  • There is some overlap between keto and gluten-free products and recipes.

That said, going gluten-free is not required on the keto diet. The main focus is limiting net carbs. As long as net carbs are kept low, gluten-containing foods like wheat-based ones can be included.

Are Gluten-Free Breads Keto-Friendly?

On the surface, gluten-free bread may seem like a fantastic keto-friendly substitute for regular bread. But when you take a closer look at the carb counts and ingredients, not all gluten-free breads meet keto guidelines.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a keto-friendly gluten-free bread:

Carb Count

Keto diets limit net carbs to 20-50 grams per day. The total carb count is important, but the net carbs (total carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols) have the biggest impact on blood sugar and ketosis.

Many gluten-free breads are actually higher in carbs than regular bread. Here are some examples for comparison:

Bread Type Serving Size Total Carbs Net Carbs
Sliced wheat bread 1 slice 15 grams 13 grams
Sliced gluten-free bread 1 slice 18 grams 16 grams

As you can see, some gluten-free breads contain significantly more carbs per slice compared to wheat bread. A couple of slices of these gluten-free breads could use up a large chunk of your daily carb limit on keto.

However, there are some gluten-free bread options with fewer than 5 grams of net carbs per slice. Choose these keto-friendly options and closely watch your portions if enjoying gluten-free bread on keto.


Gluten-free breads are made with a variety of gluten-free flours and starches like:

  • Rice flour
  • Tapioca flour
  • Potato starch
  • Cornstarch
  • Nut flours
  • Seeds like psyllium or chia

Some of these have a neutral impact on blood sugar, while others can spike blood sugar higher. Here are some pointers for choosing low-glycemic gluten-free bread ingredients on keto:

  • Limit breads with rice flour, potato starch, and cornstarch.
  • Look for nut flour and seed-based breads that use almond flour, coconut flour, psyllium, and chia.
  • Avoid added sugars.

Pre-Portioned Options

One of the challenges of incorporating any bread into a keto diet is controlling portion sizes. It’s easy to overload on slices of bread without realizing it.

Seeking out gluten-free bread products that come in portion-controlled servings can help with this issue. Here are some ideas:

  • Small sliced loaves
  • Individually wrapped snack-size slices
  • Mini rolls and buns
  • individual packs of bread crumbs and croutons

These convenient pre-portioned options take the guesswork out of enjoying gluten-free bread on a keto diet.

10 Keto-Friendly Gluten-Free Breads

While not all gluten-free breads can fit into keto diets, these options have 5 grams of net carbs or less per serving:

1. ThinSlim Foods Zero Carb Bread

With just 2 grams of net carbs and 8 calories per slice, this keto bread is one of the lowest carb options. It’s made with vital wheat gluten to provide elasticity along with whey protein, inulin, and wheat fiber.

2. Franz Keto Bread

This bread contains all keto-friendly ingredients: wheat protein, palm oil, yeast, vinegar, and fiber. Each slice has just 3 grams of net carbs.

3. Alpine Valley Keto Bread

A blend of wheat protein, coconut flour, and oat fiber gives 4 grams of net carbs. It has an impressive 5 grams of protein too.

4. Barely Bread Keto Bread

With 4 grams of net carbs and 7 grams protein, this bread offers slices, buns, and bagel options. It’s made with wheat protein, resistant wheat starch, and inulin.

5. Chompie’s High Protein Bread

This bread has 4 grams of net carbs and 9 grams of protein thanks to added vital wheat gluten. Other ingredients include rice flour, tapioca starch, psyllium, eggs, and yeast.

6. Know Foods Keto Bread

Know Foods keeps net carbs at 4 grams with a mix of fiber-rich coconut flour, psyllium husk, flax meal, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds.

7. LiveGfree Rosemary & Olive Oil Bread

With just 3 grams of net carbs per slice, this unique gluten-free bread gets its flavor from extra virgin olive oil and dried rosemary.

8. O’Doughs Thin Buns

These small sandwich-size buns have just 1 gram of net carbs each. They’re baked with a blend of gluten-free flours and gluten protein.

9. Sami’s Bakery Almond Psyllium Bread

Psyllium powder boosts fiber in this bread made with almond flour, flax meal, coconut flour, eggs, yeast, and apple cider vinegar. Each slice has 4 grams of net carbs.

10. SmartBuns

With 3 grams of net carbs and 6 grams protein, SmartBuns offers sliced bread, buns, rolls, and bagels using wheat protein, inulin, and wheat fiber.

Tips for Buying and Using Keto Gluten-Free Bread

Here are some other pointers for choosing and using gluten-free bread on a keto diet:

  • Check labels for sneaky added sugars.
  • Look at net carb counts, not just total carbs.
  • Seek out high-protein options to help meet protein goals.
  • Enjoy in moderation and measure serving sizes.
  • Opt for brands with more fiber and healthy fats.
  • Store tightly wrapped at room temperature to avoid drying out.
  • Enjoy open-faced sandwiches with just one slice.
  • Use mini rolls and buns for burgers and hot dogs.
  • Make stuffing with cubed stale bread.

Healthier Gluten-Free Bread Alternatives for Keto

While the gluten-free breads listed above can work for keto in moderation, you may also want to try some healthier low-carb bread alternatives like:

Seed and Nut Breads

Breads based on nuts like almond flour and seeds like psyllium and chia can provide fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Brands like Keto and Co. offer baked and no-bake keto bread options using these ingredients.

Low-Carb Tortillas

There are several keto-friendly tortilla options with about 5 grams of net carbs each. Brands like Mission, La Tortilla Factory, and Tumaro’s make good low-carb tortillas.

Lettuce Wraps

Using large lettuce leaves in place of buns and bread is a simple low-carb alternative. Romaine, butter lettuce, and iceberg lettuce work well.

Cloud Bread

This unique keto bread has a fluffy, airy texture thanks to beaten egg whites or aquafaba. It can be made with just 1-2 grams of net carbs per “slice.”

Zucchini Bread

Breads and muffins made with shredded zucchini and almond or coconut flour make a moist gluten-free bread alternative on keto.

Potential Drawbacks of Gluten-Free Bread on Keto

While gluten-free bread can be included on keto diets in moderation, there are some drawbacks and downsides to be aware of.

Blood Sugar Spikes

Despite being gluten-free, some breads made with flour and starches can spike blood sugar. This can stall ketosis and trigger cravings and hunger.

High Carb Counts

It’s easy to underestimate carbs and portions when eating gluten-free bread. Just a couple of uncontrolled slices could use up your daily carb limit on keto.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Gluten-free replacements often lack the vitamins, minerals, and fiber found in whole grains (although those aren’t allowed on keto anyway).

Higher Cost

Specialty gluten-free breads are usually pricier than regular ones. Baking your own can save money but takes more time and work.

Gastrointestinal Side Effects

Ingredients like chia, psyllium, and coconut flour can cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea, especially in excess.

Fatigue and Brain Fog

Some report feeling tired and having difficulty concentrating when eating gluten-free bread on keto diets.


Gluten-free bread that fits into keto diets can be found by choosing options with less than 5 grams of net carbs per serving. Seek out keto-friendly ingredients like nut flours, proteins, fiber, and healthy fats while limiting rice flour, starch, and sugars.

Gluten-free bread alternatives like seed breads, cloud bread, and lettuce wraps may provide better nutritional value. However, gluten-free breads can still be incorporated on keto in moderation and when carb counts and portions are carefully controlled.

Overall, enjoying the occasional slice of low-carb gluten-free bread can add variety to keto. Just be mindful of your total daily net carbs when making room for gluten-free breads in your keto diet.

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