Archive for April, 2010

Hidden Sources of Gluten

Avoiding gluten grains such as wheat, barley, kamut, rye and spelt can be a challenge. However, since the foods often made with these grains are obviously grain products (breads, pasta, etc.), it’s easy to know which products to check for gluten – at least one would think so.

You might think you’re okay with that chicken stir-fry, but what about that soy sauce? You might celebrate those gluten-free pancakes, but did you know the syrup may have “barley malt enzymes?”  Surely the canned organic soup is fine – but wait this one has “modified wheat starch!” As for that gluten-free pasta dish, did you see what’s in the marinara sauce?

Before you get discouraged, it’s helpful to know that most of the hidden sources of gluten, as well as their gluten-free alternatives are listed and available on-line. (See or for an exhaustive list of hidden sources of gluten and scroll to the end of this blog for sources of on-line gluten-free resources).

Basically, hidden sources of gluten include foods which utilize gluten to help thicken or prevent clumping in products. (Tip: use arrowroot instead as the thickening agent). They are also used as stabilizers and emulsifiers. Food labels may identify the gluten ingredient as follows:

Food starch, modified food starch, wheat gluten, vital gluten, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, natural flavoring, gelatin starch, vegetable gum, vegetable starch and wheat itself. Also malt, malt extract, malt syrup, malt vinegar and malt flavoring.

Some of the food groups which may include gluten are:
1. Some Marinades and gravy mixes
2. Some Marinara sauces and ketchup
3. Some Soy sauces (shoyu, miso, etc.) and soy products such seitan.
4. Some Salad dressings and vinegars
5. Some Dry seasonings and spice blends/rubs such as mustard, MSG., etc.
6. Some Dried/dehydrated foods – nuts, fruit
7. Some Instant Rice
8. Some Brown rice syrups
9. Rice milk may have been made with barley enzymes
10. Non-stick sprays
11. Some Canned beans
12. Some non-dairy creamers (shouldn’t be using)
13. Some teas and instant coffees
14. Some beers and hard ciders.
15. Bouillon cubes & powders.
16. Some Infant formula (this is especially insidious as exposure to wheat prior to 6 months of age is said to contribute to allergic reaction to gluten, as enzymatic activity is not fully developed).


 Thanks to the growing number of resources geared towards gluten-free diets, gluten free foods are easier to identify than ever.

GUIDEBOOKS: These list countless gluten-free food products and their companies. The Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide by Triumph Dining and the best selling 2009/2010 Gluten-Free Grocery and Shopping Guide are examples.

ON-LINE GLUTEN-FREE SHOPPING SITES: Foods are listed by categories. Some of the sites are:;;;

 PRE-MADE, GLUTEN-FREE MIXES. These use brown rice, millet and other gluten-free grains and are increasingly found in health food stores if not your regular supermarket.   Some of the companies which specialize in gluten-free cooking and pre-made products include, Ener-G , Enjoy Life, Gluten Free Pantry, Glutino, Pamela’s Products and Tinkyada, to name just a few.


April 22, 2010 at 5:29 pm Leave a comment