Nine Surprising Sources of Gluten To Watch Out For

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Gluten can be found in most foods today, even foods that we don’t think might contain them! Besides foods whose ingredient list contain obvious sources of gluten such as wheat and barley, gluten may be found in our foods disguised as other ingredients, such as starch, malt, or soy sauce (note: tamari is made without wheat and so is gluten-free). Watch out also for the common gluten-containing ingredients that are listed using their latin names, such as Triticum vulgare (wheat), Hordeum vulgare (barley), Secale cereale (rye), Triticale (cross between wheat and rye), and Triticum spelta (spelt, a wheat variety).

1. Candy

Many candies contain gluten. Be sure to read the labels for any of the tell tale gluten ingredients: oats, wheat, modified starch, coloring, flavor enhancer, malt, and barley. Licorice is infamously known to contain gluten so stay away from it.

An updated list of gluten-free Halloween candy can be found here.

2. Non-food products

Many products that you don’t eat can contain gluten which will enter your body through the skin and lead to adverse reactions. Such products are: sunscreens, shampoos/conditioners, makeup, lotions, pet foods, and medicines. Make sure that you check the ingredients and inform your doctors if you are severely sensitive to gluten.

3. Asian food

Most Asian foods contain sauces that have gluten in them. Most soy sauce has gluten in it though there are gluten-free soy sauces available. Popular manufacturers such as San-J and Kikkoman produce gluten-free soy sauce.

See a list of gluten-free soy sauces here.

4. Communion wafers

If you are a Catholic with celiac disease you might want to skip the communion wafers. A little known fact is that these contain gluten. Ask if your church is able to accommodate your condition by making a substitution for you.

5. Vegetarian restaurants and imitation meats

Vegetarian restaurants are frequently ridden with gluten. For instance, many imitation meats produced in vegetarian restaurants primarily consist of gluten. Vegetarian sushi also frequently contains gluten. Be sure to communicate to the restaurant your gluten intolerance and find out if the food can be made without (and not in contact with) gluten ingredients.

6. Cold cuts and hot dogs

Most cold cuts and hot dogs contain gluten unless otherwise specified. Be sure to check labels and ask your butcher whether or not the products contain or have been in contact with sources of gluten. Also, make sure that your butcher cleans the chopping board in front of you when cutting your meat (whether it is cold cuts or not). There may still be gluten residue left over from gluten products sliced earlier.

7. Sodas

Though most sodas are gluten-free, some are not. It also important to note that though certain sodas may be considered gluten-free in the US, they may not be manufactured as gluten-free abroad.

Click here for a comprehensive list of gluten-free sodas.

8. Vinegars

Vinegars are an area of contention amongst celiac circles. Most vinegars are derived from gluten containing grains and these contain less than 20 parts gluten, which ideally should be a low enough level not to produce a reaction. However, many with celiac disease still report a reaction to these vinegars. If in doubt, err on the side of caution.

For a comprehensive guide to vinegar, click here.

9. Tabbouleh and Couscous

When going for Middle Eastern food be sure to skip the tabbouleh and couscous. These both contain gluten unless otherwise specified. If you really love tabbouleh though, there are recipes which substitute the bulghur and voila with quinoa.

Click here for a great quinoa tabbouleh recipe.

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