Have you been trying to figure out what foods to avoid for gluten intolerance? Then you are in the right spot. This blog post will explain why gluten is harmful for those with celiac disease. For those just getting started on a gluten free diet, the task can be very daunting. Identifying what to avoid and what not to avoid is where most people get stuck or frustrated. We understand, it’s tricky. Below we have put together a video and a list of some of the most common foods that will get you into trouble while following a gluten-free diet.
Grains are the number one food to avoid with a gluten allergy. As part of the gluten-free “Golden Rule”, grains should be avoided to prevent reactions to gluten. The most common items are bread, pasta, cereals, muffins, bagels, cookies, and cakes. But there are many more food items on this shortlist that commonly contain grains – gravies, croutons, bread crumbs, biscuits, rolls, pita, batter-fried foods, noodles, tortillas, ice cream cones, bran, wheat germ, dumplings, pancake mixes, pies, pumpernickel and rye breads, cornbread, vermicelli, doughnuts, buns, pretzels, spaghetti, waffles, and pastries. The good news is that many companies have started making gluten-free versions of these products. With a gluten intolerance, you have to be extremely careful, even if the label says “gluten free”. Other grains like corn and rice are commonly used as alternative safe substitutes despite the research showing their detriment. Still have questions? For more on this, you can view our comprehensive page on food terms and gluten foods to avoid while eating a gluten free diet.
2. Condiments and Seasonings
Many common condiments and seasonings are foods to avoid with gluten intolerance. The reason being that many contain gluten and cause problems for those who are gluten intolerant. The following foods should be eliminated from the diet unless they plainly state on the label that they are gluten free: Worcestershire sauce, MSG, modified food starch, malt products, bouillon, barley malt, and soy sauce. Also, be aware that many gravies and salad dressings are thickened with gluten containing flours and grains. As an alternative, we recommend making your condiments and dressings yourself with gluten free ingredients. This will ensure that there are no gluten free ingredients that can cause you harm.
3. Alcoholic Beverages
Most forms of alcohol are made from grains. At the top of the list are beer and malted beverages like wine coolers. It’s recommended that you proceed cautiously with any of the grain-based alcohols such as whiskey, certain vodkas, and gin. Many claim that these are OK because they are distilled, but clinically, patients continue to have reactions to grain-based alcoholic beverages. Additionally, alcohol slows the healing process and can contribute to other health problems. If you are going gluten-free because you are sick, drinking alcohol will not serve as beneficial to aid in your recovery. It is best to stop drinking alcohol altogether when you are gluten intolerant.
4. Processed Meats
Processed meat products are unhealthy. Additionally, the most common processed meats contain high levels of cancer-causing preservatives. There is some question as to whether meats coming from grain-fed animals create problems with gluten intolerant individuals. Processed meats including cold cuts, liverwurst, hot dogs, sausages, bologna, pepperoni, salami, and pate are high in gluten because various grains are used in their manufacture. With that said, it is important to avoid processed meats all together.
5. Sweets and Treats
Being on a gluten free diet includes eliminating sweets and treats that may be made with flours and other substances containing gluten. Foods to avoid with gluten intolerance include all products made with malt, all chocolate and chocolate candy containing malt, ice cream, candies containing cereal extract, sherbets, commercial cake frosting, and root beer. Check labels, read the ingredients. When determining gluten foods to avoid, make sure you are thoroughly reading product labels and reading product ingredients.
Many items that people get gluten exposure from are less obvious. Pet food, make -up, shampoos, and skin lotions are some common examples. It is important to remember that your everyday products can contain gluten and cause issues for your health if you have celiac disease or are gluten intolerant. For more comprehensive information on hidden gluten and cross-contamination, we recommend reading and watching this.
Beware of Cross Contamination
During product manufacturing, a variety of gluten-free products come into contact with products such as grains containing gluten. This is where cross-contamination may occur. Just because a product is labeled as “gluten free” doesn’t mean it hasn’t been in contact with ingredients that include gluten. This is common in factories that process both regular and gluten-free products and use the same machines for both. This process can cause major problems for people with gluten intolerance. The other place cross-contamination can occur is in the kitchen. It occurs most commonly when preparing meals and sharing the same kitchen tools and surfaces.
A recent study found that more than 40% of processed foods labeled gluten-free still had enough gluten to cause damage to those with gluten intolerance issues. Use extreme care and have a backup cutting board that is only used for preparing gluten-free items to avoid cross-contamination. On that same note, use extreme caution if eating out. Many restaurants will not have measures in place to prevent the cross-contamination of the food they are serving you.
What Foods Can I Eat On A Gluten Free Diet?
While there are foods to avoid with a gluten intolerance, there are plenty of excellent alternatives and foods that are completely gluten free! For example, fruits and vegetables, some nuts and legumes, animal proteins, etc. are options for those on a gluten-free diet. For a more comprehensive list of foods that will make your gluten-free lifestyle easier, read our How To Go Gluten Free Ultimate Guide. This guide will give you helpful tips and tricks for daily life, while also providing you with a wide variety of foods you can enjoy!
This post is meant to be a helpful guide on what is gluten free and on foods that need to be avoided. Don’t hesitate to ask us any questions about being gluten free.