How do I recognize gluten? Part 2 of 3

Should I avoid gluten?  This is a question that I have answered in a 3 part series of posts.  Part 1 was titled: Should I Avoid Gluten? This post is all about the question: How do I recognize Gluten?

As a general rule when adopting a gluten free diet you should avoid all baked goods like, bread, cakes, pies, cookies and crackers as well as pasta.  There is a learning curve to knowing and recognizing grains that contain gluten or foods that contain gluten containing ingredients.

What foods should I avoid?

Grains to Avoid

Wheat Flour: white flour, enriched flour, whole wheat flour and self-rising flour



Wheat Starch, Wheat Bran, Wheat Germ

Cracked Wheat

Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein

Durum Flour

Farina Graham Flour



Triticale–a cross between wheat and rye




Seitan– Vegetarians “Wheat Meat”

Hidden Sources of Gluten

90% of gluten is found in the foods listed above.  The other 10%  is found in hidden sources.  These sources are generally come from processed foods.  Wheat is often used as a filler or thickener.  The following items often contain wheat:

Alcoholic Beverages (Beer, whiskey and grain alcohols are made from wheat, barley & rye)

Bouillon cubes

Candy (Hard candy or gum is often dusted with flour to prevent sticking)

Deli Meats

French Fries and others deep-fried foods

Frozen or pre-packaged meals

Glazed ham, marinated meat and self-basting turkey


Ice Cream

Imitation fish/crab

Oats: (Oats are by nature gluten free but many are cross contaminated due to being processed in plants that also process wheat.  Only purchase certified gluten free oats.)

Seasoned Potato or tortilla chips

Rice mixes


Seasoning Packets and Spice Blends

Salad Dressings

Creamed soups

Soy sauce


Non-Food items (make-up, shampoos and lipstick or lip balm)

The Importance of Reading Labels

As you have just read there are lots of foods that contain gluten.  Reading labels must become a new part of everyday life unless you remove all processed foods from your diet.  We need to read labels at the grocery store, and reread them again before opening a can, box or package at home.  Manufacturers often change ingredients so, we must read labels over and over and over again, even when purchasing products we think are safe.

When reading labels look for “Gluten Free” on the label, “Contains Wheat” in the allergen section of the label, “May Contain Traces of Wheat” and “Processed in a Gluten Free Facility” or “Processed in a facility that also processes wheat” on the label.

Names of Ingredients that Contain Gluten

Artificial color

Baking powder

Caramel color/flavoring





Fat replacers


Citric acid: (can be made by fermenting wheat, corn, molasses or beets)

Glucose syrup


Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein



Modified food starch

Natural juices



Vegetable Protein

Keep a list of gluten containing ingredients with you.  Make a list on your phone or tucked into your wallet so that you can use it as a reference when shopping until you easily remember what to look for on ingredient lists.  For some real life strategies check out the post titled: How do I replace gluten?