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20 Common Foods You Didn't Know Contained Gluten

Gluten, a group of proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye, is a familiar term, especially among those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. You may be surprised to learn that gluten isn't just in bread and pasta. It lurks in many foods you might not suspect. This eye-opening post will reveal 20 common foods where gluten hides, helping you make more informed choices. Use this list, created by Lisa Malin, of products we love for navigating the grocery store and always check out the ingredient label. If you don't know the ingredients don't buy it. 

1. Soy Sauce

Many don't realize that soy sauce typically contains wheat. This staple in Asian cuisine can be a hidden source of gluten. Opt for Tamari, a Japanese soy sauce that's generally made without wheat. Always check the ingredients and look for gluten free being mentioned!

2. Salad Dressings

Commercial salad dressings often use wheat-based thickeners. Reading labels is key to avoiding unwanted gluten in your greens. Opt for dressings with ingredients you know. Primal Kitchen's Caesar is a great Gluten Free option.

3. Soups

Many soups, particularly canned varieties, use wheat flour as a thickening agent. If you are looking for gluten free alternative always check the ingredients and seek out gluten-free labeled products like our line of Dr. Blum’s Healing Soups.

4. Processed Meats

Delicatessen meats, hot dogs, and sausages often contain gluten as a filler or binder. When in doubt stay away from it unless it is labeled as gluten-free.

5. French Fries

While potatoes are gluten-free, cross-contamination is common in restaurants where the same fryers are used for breaded items. Also, some frozen fries are coated in flour to enhance crispiness.

6. Beer

Most beer is brewed from barley, a gluten-containing grain. Fortunately, the rise of gluten-free beers offers a safe alternative for beer enthusiasts.

7. Licorice

This chewy treat often includes wheat flour as a thickener. Gluten-free alternatives are available for those with a sweet tooth.

8. Meat Substitutes

Many meat substitutes are wheat-based, like seitan, a popular protein source in vegetarian diets. Always check labels first before consuming if you're avoiding gluten.

9. Flavored Chips

While plain potato and corn chips are typically gluten-free, added flavors and seasonings might contain gluten. This is especially true for malt vinegar and cheese-flavored varieties.

10. Gravy

Traditionally, gravy is thickened with wheat flour. There are gluten-free gravy mixes, but be cautious of restaurant offerings and pre-made gravies.

11. Energy Bars

Many energy bars use wheat-based ingredients like wheat germ or barley malt. Fortunately, there are plant of gluten-free options like our Better Fuel Bars. 

12. Breakfast Cereals

Even cereals that don't list wheat, barley, or rye can be contaminated with gluten during processing. Look for cereals specifically labeled as gluten-free. Try our delicious Granola that is gluten free.

13. Medications and Supplements

Some pills use gluten as a binding agent. Consult with a pharmacist or check labels to ensure your medications and supplements are safe.

14. Imitation Seafood

Imitation crab (often used in sushi) usually contains wheat to mimic the texture of real crab.

15. Broth and Bouillon Cubes

Some brands use wheat as a flavor enhancer or stabilizer in their broths and bouillons. It's really easy to make great bone broth or vegan bone broth at home with very little! 

16. Candy

Certain candies use gluten as a binder or in the form of barley malt for flavor. Always check the ingredient list on the packaging.

17. Communion Wafers

For those who participate in religious communions, it's worth noting that traditional communion wafers contain wheat. Gluten-free options are becoming more common, though.

18. Blue Cheese

The mold in some blue cheeses may be cultivated on bread, leading to potential gluten contamination.

19. Soy Protein

Soy protein in various processed foods can be mixed with wheat gluten. Be cautious, especially with meat alternatives and protein bars.

20. Spice Mixes

Some pre-made spice mixes include wheat flour or modified food starch as anti-caking agents.

Navigating a gluten-free diet can be challenging, especially with gluten hiding in unexpected places. Being informed and vigilant about reading labels is crucial. Remember, whole, unprocessed foods are typically the safest bet for those avoiding gluten. With growing awareness, more gluten-free alternatives are becoming available, making it easier to maintain a healthy, gluten-free lifestyle. When in doubt stay away from it!


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