Gluten - Hidden Sources

Possible Sources of Gluten in Packaged Foods

  • Barley
  • Caramel Color (rarely contains gluten in the US)
  • Colorings
  • Dextrin
  • Enriched Flour
  • Flour
  • Wheat Flour
  • Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein or Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
  • Malt Flavoring or Malt Syrup
  • Modified Food Starch
  • Mono/diglycerides
  • MSG (foreign sources may contain gluten)
  • Natural Flavorings (under new labeling policy, natural flavorings will say “contains barley”)
  • Oats
  • Rice syrup (contains barley enzymes)
  • Rye
  • Spices
  • Soy Sauce
  • Stabilizers
  • Starch
  • Vinegar (is sometimes made from wheat; distillation should remove any gluten*)
  • Vanilla and vanilla extract (may be grain alcohol based, but most are from corn. Distillation should remove any gluten*)
  • Whisky, Gin (distillation generally makes these products safe for gluten-sensitive individuals*)
  • Beer, Ale
  • Malted Milk
  • Processed Cheese Spreads
  • Candy (most licorice contains wheat flour & wheat may be used in shaping or handling of the candy)
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
  • Self Basting Turkeys
  • Egg Substitutes
  • Vegetable Starch or Vegetable Protein (could mean protein from corn, peanuts, rice, soy or wheat)

*In order for a product to be labeled “gluten-free” it must contain no more than 20 ppm gluten. Distillation of gluten-containing foods and drinks renders them “gluten-free,” though a select few gluten-sensitive individuals still experience a reaction. This may be due to trace amounts of gluten found in the finished product.

**This list is not all-inclusive. There may be other hidden sources of gluten in processed foods. Read ingredients and watch for “gluten free” labels.

Cross-reactive Foods

If you are sensitive to gluten, you may also be sensitive to cross-reactive foods. Cross-reactive foods are those that react with gluten antibodies, and can keep these antibodies running high even on a strict gluten-free diet. Cross-reactive foods include corn, soy, milk, eggs, yeast, coffee, sesame and chocolate, and in some cases, oats. Even some gluten-free grain substitutes, including buckwheat, quinoa and millet can trigger reactions in some people.

Because gluten is so ubiquitous and does hide in so many foods, eating anything you didn’t make yourself from scratch can sometimes make you wonder. For these times, some people choose to take the enzyme DPP-IV, which helps to break down the gluten proteins. While it is in no way strong enough to overcome overt exposure to gluten in those who are sensitive, it can help to minimize the reaction to exposure from small, hidden sources. DPP-IV is available from many companies.

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