Raisin Bran is a popular breakfast cereal made by Kellogg’s. It consists of wheat bran flakes, raisins, and sugar. The wheat bran contains gluten, which means that standard Raisin Bran is not suitable for people who need to follow a gluten-free diet. However, there are some gluten-free versions of Raisin Bran available for purchase.
In this article, we will look at what gluten is, who needs to follow a gluten-free diet, the ingredients in regular Raisin Bran that contain gluten, and the gluten-free Raisin Bran options that are on the market.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye. For people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten triggers an immune response that damages the small intestine. This can lead to symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, fatigue, headache and more. The only treatment is following a strict lifelong gluten-free diet.
People with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity need to avoid all foods and products that contain gluten. This includes many breakfast cereals, like regular Raisin Bran.
Who Needs a Gluten-Free Diet?
There are three main groups of people who require a gluten-free diet:
People with Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects around 1% of the population. When people with celiac disease eat gluten, it triggers immune system damage to the small intestine. Over time, this can lead to malnutrition, anemia and even intestinal cancer. The only treatment is a 100% gluten-free diet.
People with Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) causes similar gastrointestinal and extraintestinal symptoms as celiac disease. But it does not cause the same immune response and intestinal damage. About 6-7% of the population may have NCGS. The standard treatment is following a gluten-free diet, which improves symptoms for most people.
People with Wheat Allergies
A wheat allergy is different from celiac disease or NCGS. With a wheat allergy, the immune system identifies wheat proteins as a threat and triggers an allergic reaction. Symptoms may include hives, difficulty breathing, or even anaphylaxis. Avoiding wheat and gluten helps manage a wheat allergy.
Ingredients in Regular Raisin Bran
The main ingredients in regular Raisin Bran made by Kellogg’s are:
- Wheat bran – wheat bran contains gluten.
- Malt flavoring – malt is usually made from barley and contains gluten.
So regular Raisin Bran contains at least two sources of gluten – the wheat bran flakes and malt flavoring.
Some varieties of Raisin Bran also contain additional ingredients like dried cranberries or vanilla flavor. But all contain wheat bran as the primary ingredient.
Gluten-Free Options for Raisin Bran
Fortunately, there are now several gluten-free versions of Raisin Bran on the market. Here are some of the main options:
Cascadian Farm Organic Purely O’s Raisin Bran
Cascadian Farm, owned by General Mills, makes an organic raisin bran using:
- Gluten-free oats
- Cane sugar
- Sunflower oil
It has a close texture and taste to regular Raisin Bran, but is made without any gluten-containing ingredients. Cascadian Farm Raisin Bran is certified gluten-free to less than 20 parts per million.
Barbara’s Bakery Puffins Raisin Bran
Barbara’s Bakery is a popular gluten-free cereal brand. Their Raisin Bran Puffins consist of:
The cereal flakes are made from a blend of gluten-free grains. Barbara’s Raisin Bran Puffins are certified gluten-free to less than 5 ppm.
Nature’s Path Gluten Free Raisin Bran Flakes
Nature’s Path makes a raisin bran using:
- Organic gluten-free corn flakes
- Organic raisins
- Organic honey
- Organic brown rice syrup
Their raisin bran flakes are certified gluten-free to less than 5 ppm. Nature’s Path also makes a variety with cranberry instead of raisins.
Other Store Brand Gluten-Free Raisin Brans
Many supermarkets also offer their own store brand versions of gluten-free raisin bran, often at lower price points. Ingredients typically include gluten-free grains like corn, rice or sorghum plus raisins and flavorings. Check the packaging to confirm the cereal is certified gluten-free if following a strict diet.
Nutrition Comparison of Gluten-Free vs Regular Raisin Bran
Here is a nutrition comparison of 1 cup of regular Kellogg’s Raisin Bran versus 1 cup of Cascadian Farm’s gluten-free raisin bran:
|Nutrient||Kellogg’s Raisin Bran||Cascadian Farm Gluten-Free|
The two cereals have a very similar amount of calories and carbs. The main differences are:
- The gluten-free version is lower in sodium
- The gluten-free version has slightly less protein
- The gluten-free version has less added sugars
So overall, the nutritional profile of gluten-free raisin bran is very comparable to regular raisin bran. Going gluten-free does not mean having to sacrifice nutrition.
Cost Comparison of Gluten-Free vs Regular Raisin Bran
There is often a perception that specialty gluten-free foods come with a higher price tag. So let’s look at how the cost of gluten-free raisin bran compares:
|Kellogg’s Raisin Bran (24 oz)||$3.50|
|Cascadian Farm Gluten Free (16 oz)||$4.99|
|Barbara’s Puffins (12.5 oz)||$5.49|
Per ounce, the gluten-free options do cost more than regular raisin bran. However, when comparing similar box sizes, the price difference is not huge. And many stores offer sales or coupons on specialty gluten-free items to help reduce the cost.
So while gluten-free raisin bran is more expensive than regular, it is reasonably priced, especially considering it is a specialty product. The difference in cost should not make or break most grocery budgets.
Taste and Texture Comparison
Gluten-free cereals were once known for having poor texture and taste compared to their gluten-containing counterparts. But food manufacturing processes have improved greatly.
Many gluten-free raisin brans now have excellent taste and texture that mimics traditional raisin bran quite well. The corn, rice and oat-based flakes have a crispness and slight crunch similar to wheat bran flakes. And added raisins provide sweetness and moistness.
That said, personal taste preferences vary. Some people strongly prefer the wheat-based taste of regular raisin bran. Others enjoy the unique flavor of gluten-free grains. It may take some trial and error to find your favorite brand.
Other Considerations When Choosing Gluten-Free Raisin Bran
Here are some other factors to consider when selecting a gluten-free raisin bran:
- Added sugars – some brands add more sugar than others. Cascadian Farm has less added sugar than Kellogg’s.
- Fiber content – look for at least 4g of fiber per serving.
- Allergens – opt for a cereal free of your allergens. Many contain nuts.
- Organic – brands like Cascadian Farm use organic ingredients.
- Fortification – choose a cereal fortified with vitamins and minerals.
- Calories – watch calories if wanting to lose weight.
Paying attention to these factors will help you find the healthiest gluten-free raisin bran for your needs.
Homemade Gluten-Free Raisin Bran Recipe
While there are several store-bought options, some people may want to make gluten-free raisin bran from scratch. Here is a recipe to try:
- 3 cups brown rice bran cereal
- 1 cup crispy brown rice cereal
- 1⁄3 cup raisins
- 1⁄4 tsp cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- Mix together the brown rice bran cereal and crispy brown rice cereal in a bowl.
- Add in raisins, cinnamon and salt. Stir to combine.
- Store in an airtight container. Keeps for up to 1 month.
The brown rice provides great texture and fiber. Feel free to experiment with other gluten-free grains or dried fruits. This lets you control the ingredients.
Finding Raisin Bran When Traveling Gluten-Free
Sticking to a gluten-free diet while traveling can be challenging. Raisin bran for breakfast provides fiber and nutrients. Here are some tips for finding gluten-free raisin bran while on the road:
- Pack gluten-free cereal in your luggage if driving or flying. Add shelf-stable milk or nuts.
- Book accommodations with a kitchen to prepare your own breakfast.
- Check the breakfast menu ahead of time at hotels and order gluten-free options.
- Explain to any bed and breakfast staff that you require gluten-free meals.
- Stop at a grocery store on route to pick up trusted gluten-free cereal.
- Download apps like FindMeGlutenFree to locate gluten-free restaurants.
With some planning, research and assertiveness, you can find gluten-free raisin bran while traveling. This ensures you get your trip off to a good start each morning.
Are Oats Gluten-Free? Can I Eat Gluten-Free Oatmeal?
Oats themselves do not naturally contain gluten. However, some people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity react to a protein in oats called avenin.
Oat products can also be contaminated with wheat, barley or rye during growing and processing. This means products made with regular oats are not guaranteed gluten-free.
But many oat producers now offer pure, uncontaminated gluten-free oats. These are grown and milled in dedicated gluten-free facilities.
As long as you tolerate oats, choosing certified gluten-free oatmeal is a breakfast option while avoiding wheat, barley and rye. Some brands to look for include:
- GF Harvest Certified Gluten-Free Oats
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oats
- Glutino Gluten-Free Oatmeal
- Cream Hill Estates Gluten-Free Oats
Be sure to buy oats labeled gluten-free to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. But talk to your doctor first since oats can still trigger symptoms for some people.
While regular Raisin Bran contains gluten from wheat bran, there are several great gluten-free versions available, often using corn, rice or oats instead. Brands like Cascadian Farm, Barbara’s Bakery and Nature’s Path all offer tasty gluten-free raisin brans.
Gluten-free raisin bran has a comparable nutrition profile and price point to regular raisin bran, though does cost more per ounce. The texture and flavor of most brands comes very close to imitating the original.
Pay attention to added sugars, fiber and other ingredients when choosing a gluten-free option to meet your nutrition needs. And with some planning, you can find gluten-free raisin bran when traveling to stick to your diet.
So you do not have to miss out on raisin bran just because you are avoiding gluten. There are convenient and delicious gluten-free versions to keep enjoying this classic cereal.