If you are new to the gluten free lifestyle or may be considering a switch, you may not be aware of which products out there are gluten foods. Basically, almost every processed, fried, or breaded product on the market will likely contain gluten. In fact, many of the most popular foods in America contain gluten in one form or the other. Following is a list of the top 10 most popular gluten foods in America:
1. Baked Goods
Gluten is a protein in wheat, barley, and rye grains. It gives dough its sticky texture and is responsible for the chewiness and firmness of baked goods. So it is a key ingredient in most baked goods, such as bagels, bread, donuts, crackers, muffins, pancakes, waffles, cakes, cookies, tortillas (both flour and corn), pie crust, danishes and the like.
2. Fried Foods
No matter what you are eating, such as chicken or fish, if it’s been breaded and fried then it contains gluten. Even the oil that is used to fry these products may contain gluten–either in the oil itself or by cross-contamination by other foods that have been fried in it.
Beer, whiskey and other spirits are usually derived from fermented grains. Usually these grains are barley and rye, two grains that are full of gluten.
4. Soy Sauce
Most soy sauce is made of a mixture of wheat and soy, and so unless the bottle specifically states it is gluten free, you can assume it contains gluten.
Most soups and even some broths are derived from a roux, which is a mixture of wheat flour and water that causes thickening, and therefore most soups contain gluten.
6. Flavored Coffees
Regular coffee itself does not contain gluten, but many times the ingredients in flavored coffees contain gluten.
7. Breakfast Cereal
Although many breakfast cereals are rice-based and therefore gluten free, it helps to read the label. Most are manufactured in the same plants as cereals containing wheat or oats, and they can then be exposed to gluten through cross-contamination.
The crust of most pizzas is made with wheat flour, so it contains gluten. Only a very specialized pizza crust (ie. one you make yourself) will be gluten free.
Couscous is made of tiny, rolled granules of wheat. For some reason, maybe because of its exotic heritage or because it doesn’t have “wheat” in its name, we all assume it’s gluten free. Nope!
10. Processed Meats
Processed meats such as sausage or luncheon meat may seem like a gluten free food, but they usually aren’t. In fact, most of the time, the flavorings, seasonings, and fillers in these products are chock full of gluten.
These are just a few examples of the common foods that contain gluten. If you are opting for a gluten free lifestyle, you will need to do a lot of research and read the labels on every purchase. Gluten is a very widespread protein in American foods, and you will need to make a really conscious effort to avoid it in your diet.