What Foods Contain Gluten?
Answering the question, “what foods contain gluten” isn’t as simple as a black and white answer. The following is a comprehensive (but not complete) list of foods that contain gluten. The list is broken up into two major segments – Foods that absolutely contain gluten, and foods/food ingredients that may contain gluten. This list can be used as a guideline for those with gluten sensitivity 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.
TRUE Gluten Free Diet Guidelines – Avoid All of These (They Contain Gluten)…
- Barley (malt)
- Durum (semolina)
- Corn (maize)* (for a list of hidden corn ingredients, go here <<<)
- Rice (does not include wild rice varieties but does include brown rice)*
*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
Many of the terms below are commonly found in processed foods. The terms are ambiguous and have multiple meanings. For example, modified food starch can be sourced from wheat, corn, and potato. Most of the time the label does not differentiate this information openly. Therefor; it is highly recommended that you call the manufacturer to confirm that they are not made from grain based ingredients before attempting to consume them. It should also be noted that regardless of gluten free status, many of the ingredients below are simply not healthy, and you would do better avoiding them anyway.
- 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)
- Non Dairy Creamer
- Seasonings (check labels)
- Natural Flavors
- Smoke flavors
- Artificial Flavors
- Natural Colors
- Artificial Colors
- Caramel color and flavoring
- Soy Sauce
- 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. These grasses are commonly found in “green drink” shake products. 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. Go here if you are looking for a grass free greens drink.
Alcoholic Beverages that contain gluten-
- 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
- Hairspray & Shampoo
- Pet Food
- Medications & Vitamins
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. Some research shows that dairy can be very problematic to those who already have gastrointestinal inflammation. Additionally, some research shows that processed dairy (using the enzyme microbial transglutaminase) actually triggers a gluten-like reaction in those with gluten sensitivity. That being said, common sense of the obvious should supersede the decision to use dairy. Gluten Free Society recommends avoiding dairy for at least 6 months. Beyond this, it is recommended that any dairy in the diet 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:
****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.
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