November 2, 2011

Guidelines for Avoiding Gluten (Unsafe Ingredients for Gluten Sensitivity)


The following is a comprehensive (but not complete) list of foods that do contain gluten or that may contain it.  This list can be used as a guideline for those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.  Many items listed below are traditionally considered safe.  However; it should be noted that many of the traditionally safe grains have been studied to cause and to contribute to damage yet they continue to be recommended by the gluten free food industry.  The difference between a traditional gluten free diet and the TRUE gluten free diet can be found in the following video tutorial <<<

TRUE Gluten Free Diet Guidelines – Avoid All of These…

  • Wheat
  • Barley (malt)
  • Rye
  • Oats
  • Sorghum*
  • Millet*
  • Teff*
  • Triticale
  • Spelt
  • Durum (semolina)
  • Einkorn
  • Emmer
  • Corn (maize)* (for a list of hidden corn ingredients, go here <<<)
  • Rice (does not include wild rice varieties but does include brown rice)*
  • Groat
  • Graham
  • Amaranth***
  • Buckwheat***
  • Quinoa***

*These grains are classically considered gluten free, but are not recommended on a TRUE gluten free diet.  If you would like to learn more about why these other grains should be avoided, watch the following video <<<
*** These items are technically not grains, but are at high risk for cross contamination and not recommended on a TRUE gluten free diet unless verification can be obtained.  These pseudo cereals are also very high in glutamic acid and should be discouraged as substitutes for patients with neurological symptoms.

Misc. Food Additives or Processed Foods That Can Contain Gluten

  • MSG
  • Modified food starch
  • Textured vegetable protein
  • Hydrolyzed plant protein
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate
  • Hydroxypropylated Starch
  • Pregelatinized starch
  • Vegetable gum
  • Vegetable protein
  • Extenders and binders
  • Maltodextrin (wheat or corn based)
  • Dextrin
  • Maltose
  • Non Dairy Creamer
  • Seasonings (check labels)
  • Natural Flavors
  • Smoke flavors
  • Artificial Flavors
  • Natural Colors
  • Artificial Colors
  • Caramel color and flavoring
  • Soy Sauce
  • Miso
  • Bouillon cubes or stock cubes
  • Candy may be dusted with wheat flour; ask.
  • Canned soups – Most are not acceptable.
  • Cheese spreads & other processed cheese foods.
  • Chocolate – may contain malt flavoring.
  • Cold cuts, Wieners, Sausages – may have gluten due to cereal fillers.
  • Dip mixes
  • Dry sauce mixes
  • Honey Hams – can be based with wheat starch in coating.
  • Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt – check all dairy.  Cows are fed grains and many react to dairy for this reason.  Grass fed dairy recommended (or avoid dairy altogether).
  • Instant Teas & Coffees – cereal products may be included in the formulation.
  • Mayonnaise – check thickener and grain based vinegar ingredients
  • Mustard – Mustard powder may contain gluten
  • Oil, frying – Check for cross contamination or corn based oils.
  • Poultry and meats – Check out the flavorings and basting and inquire about meat glue
  • Sour cream – May contain modified food starch of indeterminate source.
  • Dry roasted nuts & honey roasted nuts
  • French fries in restaurants – Same oil may be used for wheat-containing items.
  • Gravies – check out thickening agent and liquid base.
  • Vitamin supplements (different brands contain grain based ingredients – check the labels carefully)
  • Baking powder (commonly contains grain – wheat or corn)

The Grasses -

Many people want to use wheat, barley, rye, and oat grass (not the seed) as a supplement in the diet.  Technically, these do not contain gluten as they are the grass part of the plant.  However; it is recommended that these be avoided to prevent the possibility of cross contamination.

Alcoholic Beverages that contain gluten-

  • Beer
  • Malted beverages
  • Grain based spirits (many claim that distillation removes gluten…Gluten Free Society recommends avoidance regardless)

Non Edible Items That May Contain Gluten (Read Your Labels)-

  • Stamps & envelopes
  • Toothpaste
  • Lipstick
  • Hairspray & Shampoo
  • Detergents
  • Pet Food
  • Medications & Vitamins
  • Lotions
  • Playdough
  • Makeup

Is There Gluten in Dairy?

Research has identified that gluten from mother’s milk passes into the dairy of humans.  A majority of gluten sensitive individuals do not tolerate milk or dairy based foods.  The staple diet for commercial dairy cows is grain.  Whether or not glutens from feeding cows grain crosses into dairy is still in question and has not been adequately studied.    That being said, common sense of the obvious should supersede the decision to use dairy.  Gluten Free Society recommends only dairy that comes directly from pasture fed cows if any at all.  For more in depth information on this topic, please listen to the following 2 part interview between Dr. Peter Osborne and Dr. Rodney Ford:

Part 1

Part 2

****Note – there is no such thing as a complete comprehensive list of food items that contain gluten.  Manufacturers regularly change their ingredients, mislabel, have product recalls, etc.  This is why Gluten Free Society’s stance is to avoid processed and packaged foods as much as possible as well as to avoid eating out as much as possible.  You cannot control the mistakes or ethical considerations of others.

Gluten Free Society is your complete resource on all things gluten! Video tutorials, Interactive Forum, Gluten Free TV, Recipes, and more…

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50 Responses to “Guidelines for Avoiding Gluten (Unsafe Ingredients for Gluten Sensitivity)”

  • Maria Isabela says:

    I found another list of gluten containing foods as well as list of hidden sources of gluten and gluten-free foods list at I hope this information will also help other people who are trying to adjust their diet and live gluten-free to improve their health.

  • saretta says:

    So basically, you have taken away all the cereals and cereal substitutes! Are you proposing a diet of only proteins, ftuits and vegetables?

  • Fenella says:

    Synthroid contains cornflour, so if you need a thyroid supplement, ask your doctor for medication that doesn’t contain wheat or corn products.

    I now only buy herbs and spices from the heath food store, as they don’t have any of the food additives that you recommend to avoid.

  • Saretta,
    I have taken away nothing. I am just the messenger. You are correct in your analysis however that the primary recommendation in meat, vegetables, and fruit.

  • Nate says:

    This is daunting news. I just recently started following this on facebook. I can’t imagine just eating fruit, vegetables, and meat. I like those but there has to be something I can substitute.

  • diane laroche says:

    I’m just getting to know the reason of being so sick for over 10 years, so far things are better because of the knowledge on gluten free product.thank youi so much for the time you are givingon that matter.

  • saretta says:

    Ok, Dr. Osborne, I didn’t mean to imply that you personally were responsible! Sorry if it came across that way. I was just very surprised to see things like quinoa and amaranth on the list. Have been watching your video on the health matrix and it is very informative. Thanks for all you are doing!

  • No offense taken Saretta :)
    I am glad you are here and getting educated on this very important topic.
    Have a great day!
    Dr. O

  • Diane says:

    Am I right in assuming you think it safe to eat wild rice and legumes such as beans and pulses?

  • Diane,
    Yes from a gluten free perspective, those foods are considered safe. However; I do not recommend them as staple foods in a healthy diet. I will be posting a video on this topic very soon.
    All the best,
    Dr. O

  • saretta says:

    What about flours from things like chestnuts or garbanzo beans? I’m hoping they are ok, since I don’t see either on your list.

  • Christine says:

    What about Xanthan gum?

  • Thanks so much for all your valuable updates.

    I did not see sorghum and tapioca listed as cross-links. Most people are not familiar with the issue of cross-links. The November issue of Celiac.Com’s Journal of Gluten Sensitivity has a great article on gluten testing and Sojorgen’s disease.

    I lived in Tuscan for 20 years and have translated most of the traditional Tuscan recipes to gluten-free.The Italians require a test before children enter school and are inventing a gluten-free flour because they eat so much bread and pasta.

    The Gluten-Free Topanga Chef

  • Theresa Novy says:

    My daughter is gluten free, msg free. However, she just had a MRI and it said she has Scheuermann’s Disease. Does this have anything to do with eating gluten her first 23 years of life? The reason we had the MRI done is because she said she has floating ribs that go out of place and she has a hard time breathing. She goes to the chiropractor puts them in place and then a day later they are out again and breathing problems again. Her pulse rate is 49. She exercises every day but over the last 4 months she has not been able to exercise; she is 26 years old. Any suggestions….There is no doctor that has been to help us.

  • Mebs says:

    “Daughter”- IMHO Chiropractic approach is the correct avenue but you also need to ensure the chiropractor has an holistic approach- Restricted diet is the key to allow the body to heal and drinking 2 to 3 litters of water daily is critical to rebuild that cartilage between the ribs. (Water is the only liquid she should be drinking). Total Posture is very key too.

  • Kayla says:

    Certain brands say they are gluten free but are not truely, what brands are safe? What should we eat?

    What about this company? Do you think they are ok?

  • Michelle says:

    Does anybody have a recipe for gluten-free bread that has no rice, sorghum or buchwheat flour? Or is bread altogether out of the question?

  • Audrey says:

    Here’s another reliable resource. If you have an official diagnosis, they also offer a tax deduction for the extra money you spend on GF food. Save your receipts!

    Celebrate today: US Senate Resolution 550: National Celiac Awareness Day September 13, 2012

  • Emma says:

    For gluten free bread recipe google flaxseed bread. Made with 2 cups of flaxseed meal and 1 cup of ground blanched almonds…a couple of eggs, good pinch of salt and a little water to make it into a runny dough ( a couple of table spoons of olive oil too). Pop in a 180c temp oven for around 25 mins or until it feel firm to touch.

  • Cherie says:

    Hello, I wonder can anyone tell me if chestnut flour and tapioca are safe?

  • Cherie says:

    I have had to give up all grains but I seriously need to gain weight and I am not at all sure that I can do so on a low carb regime – have you any advice about weight gain??

  • Yes. They are both safe :)

  • Cherie says:

    Thank you very much for replying to my question, I have learned so much from this site and I am very grateful.

  • Olive Kaiser says:

    Dr Osborne,

    I understand from a well known researcher that not only the items you mention but coffee, sesame and chocolate as well as yeast, MAY also cross react with gluten due to molecular mimicry. Do you find this is so?

  • Olive Kaiser says:

    To clarify my question about coffee, sesame and chocolate, I don’t mean that these foods may be cross contaminated with wheat. I refer to the claim that the actual amino acid sequences are similar enough that the antibodies may misrecognize them for gluten peptides.

  • Olive,
    Yes – I have seen this correlation clinically in many patients. I would not limit the list to only coffee, chocolate, and sesame. I would add to it many other legumes and seed based foods.

  • Bonnie says:

    I am trying to figure out if there is a connection between gluten and my husband’s eczema on his fingers. Do you have any information on this? Also, if a person lives entirely gluten free, do they suffer from malnutrition?

  • Raine says:

    I noticed oatmeal on the list; my research and stomach say its not gluten. If I eat gluten I’m in immediate pain and feel like I can’t breathe
    And yes, fruits, vegetables and meat is about as safe as you can get! I dont bother with all of the *gluten free substitutes and I dont miss anything. Pain free is better than pizza or a cookie.

  • Ursula says:

    It has also been found that flavoured potato chips have gluten. It is used to glue the flavour (barbecue, onion, whatever) onto the chips. And because it isn’t officially an ingredient, it doesn’t have to be declared on the label.
    So, only plain chips are safe…… but of course are not good nutrition.

  • Angela says:

    Potato chips have another evil threat: acrylamides (from heating starches to really high temperatures). These can be carcinogenic.

  • dede says:


    I was recently told by my naturopath that I have a 2.9% chance of developing Celiac. Is that high?

    We also did a food allergy test and most of my intolerances (kidney beans, string beans, mushroom, sugar cane) are in the 1/6 column (1 is very low and 6 being extremely high). Only almonds is in the moderate 3/6.

    Is that even something to worry about? are we overreacting?

  • dede says:

    To clarify the previous post: are we overreacting by going sugar free, gluten free, string/kidney beans free (forever)? is 2.9% chance even that high? (the lab labeled it as moderate genetic risk from HLA DQA/DQB genotype – positive for DQ2).

  • Dede,
    You are not over reacting going gluten free. The foods may or may not need to be avoided long term. Depends on the status of your gut. Leaky gut is often times a cause for developing food allergies.

  • israel contreras says:

    Im just gonna quit eating

  • Melissa says:

    my mother-in law raises chickens and they feed them wheat. Do you know if it would be safe to eat those eggs if you are gluten intolerant? Just curious.

  • Joan says:

    Rice also contains gluten but as with corn not gliadin. Is it safe or not?

  • Lee says:

    I have some friends who are gluten-free. I have had the celiac test and do not have celiac disease. I have SOME kind of sensitivity and don’t know what it is. have GERD and UC and never had problems with bread before I developed those. Now wheat and dairy bother me (but not across the board, I can eat Finncrisp rye crackers with Havarti cheese and have no reaction at all for instance…and most especially the combination of wheat/milk, so for example I can’t eat any wheat cereal with milk anymore, makes me miserable for hours). Oatmeal with flax bothered me the other day but doesn’t always bother me. I can’t figure out what specifically is bothering me. I can’t imagine what kind of gluten-free inexpensive diet I could get my kids to eat, and the idea of preparing separate meals is not economical or feasible in terms of time. Every time I try to research the issue, I hit these walls of money, time and just too much information out there to be able to sort it all out. Not to mention the limited number of foods, as between the UC and GERD, doesn’t seem like there is anything I can eat except for…chicken and potatoes!?

  • Michaela says:

    Israel, I agree!!

  • Bee says:

    Is rice protein powder ok?

    So, wheat grass juice should be avoided?

    Is spirulina ok?

  • aneesa says:

    Does plain boiled white rice, starch drained out contain gluten.
    Please give a straight answer. Its too confusing.

  • Jane says:

    So can you eat split peas?- are they a veg or legume? What about lentils and white & sweet potatoes? Are they safe?

  • Earl says:

    Why don’t you list soya? Most other side rate it much worse that corn or rice.

  • [...] The great thing about eating is that you always get to choose.  Choose what to pick or choose not to pick at all.  Sometimes, missing a meal is the best choice.  I packed a lot of grass fed beef jerky sticks and nuts to tide me over.  Fresh fruit was available from many local shops and vendors.  Most days, we ate a very light breakfast of eggs, fruit, sausage, and fresh squeezed juices.  We ate long slow lunches with fresh local fare.  The Italians were aware of traditional gluten free needs, and that made it easier to make selections.  Many of the Italian servers spoke very good English, and this also made things go more smooth.  Don’t forget that you can print out this list of foods to avoid before you travel <<< [...]

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