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5 Types of Food To Watch Out For if You're Gluten-Free

Whether you have Celiac disease, NCGS (non-celiac gluten sensitivity), a wheat allergy or just want to try out the gluten-free diet, you must understand everything that contains gluten, especially the things you'd least expect.

Date:   4/18/2022 5:13:01 PM   ( 4 mon ) ... viewed 32 times

5 Types of Food To Watch Out For if You're Gluten-Free

Whether you have Celiac disease, NCGS (non-celiac gluten sensitivity), a wheat allergy or just want to try out the gluten-free diet, you must understand everything that contains gluten, especially the things you'd least expect. 

Gluten is the name for proteins found primarily in wheat, barley and rye. It helps hold food's shape, which makes it a great ingredient for cooking. It's commonly found in a wide variety of products: bread, bagels, flour tortillas, crackers, cereal, cake, cookies, donuts, pancakes, waffles, pasta, dumplings, pretzels and candy. Those are just a few items that you probably already knew contained gluten. 

So besides switching these things out for gluten-free versions, like gluten-free bread, pasta, as well as grain free flour and baking mix, what else should you know about?


Possibly one of the least-expected places to find gluten is in the condiments aisle. But it turns out that gluten is both a thickener and a key ingredient of some vinegar found in sauces.

Ketchup, mustard, barbeque sauce, mayonnaise, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, salad dressing, pasta sauce, tomato paste, salsa, gravy, as well as dry spice mixes like taco seasoning or steak rubs are all examples of condiments that can contain gluten. Now, not all brands use gluten; for example, Heinz ketchup, mustard and mayo are all gluten-free. 


While beer is widely known to be made with barley, some brands sneak gluten into other drinks as well. Some of these include vodka, whiskey, bourbon, gin, fruit-flavored wine, hard cider, mixed drinks, bottled wine coolers, chocolate milk, coffee creamer, flavored coffee, and in the UK, Ovaltine and fruit and barley squash should be avoided.


Since most snack food is highly processed, gluten can wind up in the mix as an additive or stabilizer. Some to watch out for are: flavored corn or potato chips, especially barbeque flavor, Sunchips, pretzels, some popcorn flavors, granola bars, candy bars, trail mix, cookies, snack cakes, and flavored nuts.

Processed Food

Highly processed food is so far from its original form that it's easy to be surprised by the ingredients list. So no matter what it is, if it's processed, don't assume it's gluten-free. 

This list is far from exhaustive because there are so many different products out there, but this should give you a good idea of what to avoid: fried chicken, fried fish, barbeque meat, anything breaded/ battered like mozzarella sticks, lunch meat, hot dogs, cheese slices, french fries, tempura, egg rolls, many Asian dishes, flavored tofu, egg substitutes, veggie burgers, soup, ice cream, pudding, and many other desserts.

Specific Grains

While wheat, barley and rye were already mentioned, it's not the full list of all grains that have gluten. So whenever you are checking ingredient lists, make sure you look out for all of these things as well: triticale, farina, spelt, farro, kamut, wheat berries and couscous. Also, while most oats are gluten-free, sometimes they can be contaminated and you should only consume oat products if it states that it is certified gluten-free.

Remember to always inform waitstaff at restaurants that you are gluten-free, especially if you follow this diet for medical reasons. It's a good idea to check the menu before you go, and if they don't have anything gluten-free listed, you can call and they will sometimes have off-menu substitutes.

Restaurants with customizable options are great because you can make sure that you get a full meal without having to make sacrifices. You can also choose a cuisine that almost always has gluten-free choices like Mexican, Latin American, Caribbean, and Indian food. Also, while Italian food is normally wheat-based, chains are increasingly adopting gluten-free options like cauliflower pizza crust and brown rice pasta.

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