7 Common Foods Containing Gluten

A gluten free diet is a diet that is completely free of any materials that contain gluten, which is found in grains like wheat, spelt, barley, rye and kamut. Gluten is also sometimes used as a food additive to add flavor or to thicken food. Those who suffer from wheat allergies, celiac disease or gluten intolerance should not eat gluten. Here are some of the most common foods that contain gluten.

1. Breads

Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut and triticale, so breads and other baked goods made from these grains should be avoided, including:

  • Bread rolls
  • Pretzels
  • Rye and pumpernickel breads
  • Pie crusts
  • Biscuits
  • Scones

Gluten free versions of these products can be made, using gluten free flours, for those who can’t eat or don’t desire gluten. Gluten free flours include:

  • Rice flour
  • Amaranth
  • Quinoa
  • Corn meal
  • Buckwheat
  • Soy flour
  • Almond and other nut flours

2. Pastries, Cakes and Cookies

Many pastries, cakes and cookies are made with gluten based products. Avoid:

  • Graham crackers
  • Cookies
  • Donuts
  • Muffins
  • Pancakes
  • Ice cream cones

Instead look for products labeled “gluten free” and manufactured with one of the gluten free flours mentioned above.

3. Breaded Meats

The breading used for many breaded meats, like breaded chicken, steak and fish, contain gluten based products. When eating out, avoid breaded meat, fish, poultry or anything else fried or coated in bread crumbs. You can ask your server if there is a gluten free bread crumb alternative.

4. Pasta

Many pastas are made with wheat flour or other gluten based flours. It’s possible to buy pastas, like spaghetti and macaroni, that are made with gluten free flour. Avoid noodles, pasta, couscous and semolina unless you’re sure it’s gluten free.

5. Processed Foods

Many processed foods contain gluten as a food additive. Gluten is a useful thickening and stabilizing agent in the preparation of processed foods. It can also enhance the flavor of many processed foods. Read labels carefully when buying any of the following processed foods:

  • Ice cream
  • Pudding
  • Non-diary creamer
  • Salad dressing and other commercially prepared sauces
  • Gravy
  • Fruit fillings
  • Custard
  • Chewing gum
  • Beverage mixes
  • Candy
  • Canned and packaged foods, especially broths and soups
  • Chocolate milk
  • Cold cuts
  • Potato chips
  • Syrup
  • Root beer

Beer also contains gluten, because it’s made from the gluten based grain, barley.

6. Food Additives

Food additives often contain gluten, though they aren’t listed as gluten based products on the ingredients list. Read labels carefully and keep your eyes peeled for any of the following ingredients:

  • Bouillon
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Hydrolyzed plant protein
  • Malt vinegar
  • Malt flavoring
  • Modified food starch
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • Suet

7. Seasonings

Many seasonings contain gluten, including mustard, white pepper and most commerically prepared sauces, including salad dressings, teriyaki and soy sauce.


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