I recently shared that my family has gone gluten free. It has been quite a learning experience! While I tend to buy gluten free alternatives it was important for me to learn what food items could contain ‘hidden’ gluten – especially food items I would never expect to have gluten.
Once you start reading food labels, you’re bound to be completely shocked at the contents – or even what the food ‘may contain.’ Most labels have something to the effect of “This product may contain” or “Produced in a facility that also processes” and then will list common allergens- dairy, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, etc.
It’s important to know your level of tolerance towards different allergens. I CAN eat gluten, I am choosing not to, while my husband has a wheat allergy and the possibility of wheat being present is too risky for him. So if a product doesn’t have any wheat sources in the ingredients but has a disclaimer that it “may contain wheat” I would be okay to eat it where my husband would not.
It’s also important to mention that ‘wheat-free’ does not necessarily mean gluten free. They could still contain another grain, like rye, spelt, or barley, and not be considered gluten free. The following grains could potentially be sources of gluten: wheat (including wheatberries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina farro, graham, KAMUT, einkorn wheat) rye, barley, triticale, malt, brewer’s yeast, wheat starch. (source)
If a label does not say it is gluten free then it is safe to assume that it is not. For example, I have to be really careful when I buy brown rice. The packaging needs to clearly state that it is gluten free – some brands must also process wheat products and therefore can’t certify the product is gluten free.
Some other hidden sources of gluten in food:
Prepackaged spices and seasonings use gluten or wheat as a binder, such as bouillon cubes.
Yeah, sorry. Luckily wine is gluten free. (Also note there are several varieties of beer that are gluten free, and this is a growing market!) Be careful to research your favorite distilled liquor.
This one was a surprise to me. Some teas are sweetened with barley, and some tea bags are sealed with wheat paste. For real! Also, flavored coffee and syrups can contain gluten.
Wheat is used as a thickener in many common soups, sauces, and even salad dressings. As always, read the labels!
Hidden gluten is found in many deli meats. In addition, even if the meat does not contain gluten, it may have been exposed to gluten at some point and is thus not safe for those with gluten allergies.
Both the red and black varieties have gluten in them. Some companies are developing gluten free candy, including Lovely Candy Co.
Are there any other hidden gluten items that you know of? Leave us a comment and let us know!