5 Sneaky Sources of Gluten

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If you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease─or have a sensitivity to gluten─you’re probably making a concerted effort to avoid this ingredient. The problem is, gluten often lurks where you least expect it! If you want to root it out for good, you need to look beyond the obvious suspects. You might be surprised to learn that the following 5 items often harbor gluten:

Food additives

Gluten is used as a thickener, emulsifier, and/or stabilizer in many snack foods, canned goods, frozen entrées, prepared meals, condiments, herb/spice mixes, and more. Carefully scan food labels for terms like starch, hydrolyzed plant protein, emulsifiers, and stabilizers. And beware of the phrase “natural flavors” which is a catch-all ingredient that may include gluten and other additives, even MSG.

Soy sauce

Did you know that almost all soy sauce contains wheat—often as the number one ingredient? Fortunately, you can still enjoy this fabulous seasoning by seeking out wheat-free versions, or even better, choosing tamari, which is traditionally brewed Japanese soy sauce without wheat. Play it safe with San-J tamari, which is delicious and gluten-free certified.

Gourmet meats

While meat, poultry and fish pre-prepared with flavorful sauces can be appealing, they may contain gluten among their spice-mix ingredients or other additives. Also, be careful with sausage products, in which meat is blended with seasonings—and other fillers, like starch—then stuffed into casings. Unless prepared meats are labeled gluten-free, it’s best to avoid them.

Soups of all types

Many prepared soups start with gluten-containing bouillon, though it may fall under the ingredient “natural flavors.” Cream-based canned soups can also trip you up, as they typically get their silky texture from wheat starch as opposed to actual cream. Fortunately, higher-end boxed soups are often labeled gluten-free. Better yet, why not make your own? http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2008/01/gluten-free-chili-soup-stew-recipes.html

Ice cream

Now, how could ice cream contain gluten? Well, most commercial ice cream and other frozen desserts are often highly processed, with gluten sneaking in as a thickening agent. And of course, certain brands offer flavors that involve cookies, brownies, or pie—all of which typically contain wheat. Learn about safe options here: http://www.livestrong.com/article/238063-what-brands-of-ice-cream-are-gluten-free/

While avoiding hidden gluten takes ongoing awareness, it’s worth it. Your vigilance will pay off with many happy—and safe—meals to come.

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