Hidden Sources of Gluten
How to recognize gluten that's not obvious on the label.
You probably know that wheat breads and pastas are a definite "no" when it comes to a gluten-free diet. But the list of foods to avoid if you've gone gluten-free is a lot longer than that.
Here's a list of items that you should definitely double-check before you throw them in the shopping cart:
- Beer, ale, lager
- Broth, soup, soup bases
- Some chocolates, some chocolate bars, and licorice
- Flavored coffees and teas
- Imitation bacon bits and imitation seafoods
- Medications (check with your pharmacist)
- Salad dressings
- Sausages, hot dogs, deli meats
- Sauces, marinades, gravies
- Soy sauce
Gluten-free foods have become much more common, so you might be able to find a version that does work for you. Even communion wafers now come in gluten-free versions.
Everyday Items You Don't Have to Worry About
The good news is that gluten isn’t everywhere, especially once you move beyond the kitchen.
"One of the most common myths out there about gluten is that it’s an ingredient in envelope glue," Case says. "But an analysis of the largest envelope manufacturers in the U.S. showed this isn't true: Envelope glue is made from corn starch, and is gluten-free."
You also don't need to worry about beauty care products, such as shampoo or lotions, that you don't swallow, Case says.
Tips to Going Gluten-Free
As you get the hang of going gluten-free, here are more tips to eliminating gluten from your diet:
Work with a registered dietitian. That way, you'll be sure to meet all your nutritional needs while totally eliminating gluten from your diet, Case says.
Take your time. Trips to the grocery store might take longer when you first go gluten-free. Plan on spending extra time reading the labels and educating yourself on the key words that signal a gluten ingredient, Falkenmeyer says.
When in doubt, ask. Call food companies and ask them about their manufacturing process and the steps they take to ensure the products are gluten-free, Case recommends.
Watch the cost. Gluten-free products might be a little more expensive than food with gluten, Falkenmeyer says. Bargain shopping and coupons come in handy when you cut gluten out of your diet.
Ask your pharmacist to find out if your medications contain gluten. If they do, ask your health care provider about alternatives.