Gluten… Lurking Where You Least Expect It

Gluten, a pesky little glue like protein that wrecks havoc in the bodies of many, is becoming quite difficult to avoid. For those effected by gluten sensitivities, intolerances, or worst Celiacs it is CRUCIAL to know all the places gluten can lurk and all of its aliases. Unfortunately, gluten is popping up everywhere and is in far more products than we are made aware of. If you had a salad and a bottled juice from your favorite restaurant today, it’s possible you were exposed to gluten. If you take vitamins daily, or had a cup of coffee, again it’s possible you ingested gluten. This happens often since gluten by name is rarely ever listed on a product.

While it’s imperative to read the ingredient lists of the foods you purchase, often, reading the label doesn’t help when the ingredients you’re looking for are under another name. Most of us are aware of the typical places gluten lurks like bread, cakes, cookies, or anywhere wheat, flour, barley, rye, semolina, kamut, and spelt are used. However, beside the common places,  gluten can also be found in cereal, ice cream, pudding, sushi, and soup, among many other common foods.

Gluten can be found in these unsuspecting foods because of ingredients like malts, thickening agents, modified food starches, and maltodextrin, to name a few. These ingredients are used in almost everything to coat, thicken, or bind in other ingredients. These ingredients are used in making many more things than just those sweet baked goods we all love to eat. That’s what makes knowing what contains gluten so tricky. I have compiled a list of some foods and ingredients that contain gluten. Some of the items on the list may surprise you.

 ***Unsuspecting products that may contain gluten:

  • Salad Dressing
  • Soup
  • Canned Soup
  • Pickles
  • Minute Rice
  • Ice Cream
  • Pudding
  • Dairy(from non organic pasture raised cows)
  • Miso
  • Hot Dogs
  • French Fries
  • Instant Coffee
  • Gravy
  • Soba Noodles
  • Licorice
  • Gum
  • Candy
  • Soy Sauce
  • Worchester Sauce
  • Deli Meats
  • Veggie Burgers
  • Imitation Crab
  • Flavored Roasted Nuts
  • Grand Marnier
  • Beer
  • Whiskey
  • Scotch
  • Vitamins
  • Seasoning(caking agent used)
  • Natural Juices
  • Chocolate Milk
  • Root Beer

***Ingredients that may contain gluten(Depending upon where and how it was made):

  • MSG
  • Citric Acid
  • Malt
  • Vegetable Protein
  • Caking Agent
  • Natural Flavor
  • Artificial Flavor
  • Dextrin
  • Maltodextrin
  • Modified Food Starch
  • Hydrolyzed Plant and Vegetable Protein
  • Caramel Color/Flavoring
  • Baking Powder
  • Starch
  • Brown Rice Syrup
  • Some Vinegars(grain distilled)
  • Extracts(alcohol based)
  • Diglycerides
  • Coloring
  • Emulsifiers
  • Glucose Syrup

When preparing your own food at home it is a little easier to watch out for these things. However, it’s far harder when dinning outside of the home. I find that many people still don’t understand what gluten is nor do they get the harm it can cause when added to ones food who can’t have it. I have often experienced being told that something was gluten free when it clearly was not. So if you have to be gluten free you need to be your own ingredient detective. Know where gluten lurks and when purchasing products or eating out if you can not get accurate definitive answers on whether your food contains these ingredients then steer clear of them altogether.


*** This is not by any means a complete list of all the places gluten lurks but a starting point to better equip you with the knowledge needed to maintain a successful gluten free diet. Some of the food items listed above can be found in gluten free form but do your research to be sure it is truly free of any gluten.***

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