Where might gluten be hiding in my food? Below are the most common hidden sources of gluten.
Truth is: gluten is EVERYWHERE. Well, it’s technically not everywhere, but if you are gluten intolerant or you have Celiac disease it is critical to take the stance that it is just about everywhere. I have been “glutened” countless times when gluten has appeared in foods that I didn’t expect.
The Hidden Sources Of Gluten
To name just a few foods, I’ve been glutened by: Twizzlers, ketchup, yogurt, vinegar, vodka, Rice Krispies, french fries, Altoids, tortilla chips. I’ve also reacted to gluten by simply sharing a drink with my child after she has eaten gluten. (Yes, gross I admit!)
Since even vinegars can have wheat derivatives, it is prudent for a person who suffers from gluten intolerance or celiac disease to become savvy at ingredients that may be derived from wheat (and hence, gluten). Some vinegars, such as balsamic vinegars, may not be made from wheat, but the casks in which they have been distilled in have glutenous pastes. This contaminates the vinegar with trace amounts of gluten.
Soy and miso often have wheat in them, too, simply because they often have a wheat mix.
Always look for terms such as durum or spelt in the ingredient list and avoid them! Not many would consider ketchup to contain wheat, but oftentimes it does! When in doubt, look for ketchup that actually says “gluten free” on the bottle.
What Are Some Terms That May Indicate Gluten?
The following: whole grain, multi-grain, durum, spelt, wheat germ, malt, kamut, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP normally from soy but may contain wheat). And also: semolina, vegetable starch, flour, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, soy sauce, and miso.
Cross-contamination is the easiest way to ingest gluten. Was that meat just cooked on the grill next to gluten-containing foods? Did gluten crumbs get into your gluten free foods? Is the cook (whether that be at a restaurant or your friend that has invited you over for dinner) knowledgeable in preventative cross-contamination procedures and keeping your food gluten-free?
Some of the most common places for gluten cross-contamination to occur are the kitchen countertops, toaster oven, the grill, restaurants, shared sticks of butter, shared jars of food such as jellies and peanut butter.
Outside the home, it is not uncommon to have gluten cross-contamination. The same goes in the manufacturing and production of foods using shared equipment. Likewise, this happens often with the storage of gluten free foods along with containing foods.
The key is to know what is safe and what is not and stick to it. When in doubt about the food or whether there may be gluten contamination, simply do not eat it. Keep in mind that for people with celiac disease, even trace amounts of gluten will trigger the autoimmune response, so there is no such thing as having “just a little.”
Non-Food Sources of Gluten
If you are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease, anything that you ingest by mouth becomes of concern. This includes medications, vitamins, and supplements. Even beauty products such as lipsticks, lip glosses and Chapsticks, shampoos, and makeup that can come in contact with your mouth (such as foundation or powder finishes) surprisingly often contain gluten. You may not know it, but these are also hidden sources of gluten.