Sneaky Sources of Gluten

It takes more than banning bagels and beer to purge gluten from your diet.
By Lisa Turner

Here’s a guide to foods with hidden sources of wheat from Shelley Case, RD, author of Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide (Case Nutrition Consulting, 2006) and a leading expert in the field.

Food: Soy sauce
The culprit: Wheat or hydrolyzed wheat protein
Solution: Look for wheat- and gluten-free soy sauce, or use tamari, made without the grain.

Food: Malt vinegar
The culprit: Malt is derived from barley, a glutinous grain.
Solution: Use balsamic, cider, wine, or other vinegar instead, which are all gluten-free.

Food: Trail mixes
The culprit: Dried fruit, like dates, is sometimes rolled in flour to prevent sticking. Plus, some chocolate and seasoned nuts can also contain malt-based flavoring.
Solution: Choose mixes with unseasoned nuts and seeds only, or mixes clearly marked gluten-free.

Food: Wine coolers and other mixed, bottled alcoholic drinks
The culprit: Although wine and distilled liquor are gluten-free, they often contain malt flavoring.
Solution: Stick with the real stuff, or make your own cooler by adding sparkling water and juice to your favorite spirits.

Food: Boxed rice mixes
The culprit: Commercial mixes, like rice pilaf or Spanish rice, can contain gluten-laden seasonings.
Solution: Choose clearly marked boxes of gluten-free mixes, or start with whole-grain rice and add your own spices, since premixed seasonings often include a binding agent derived from wheat.

Food: Cereal
The culprit: Crispy rice cereal, corn flakes, and other seemingly gluten-free cereals usually contain barley malt flavoring.
Solution: Look for cereals clearly marked gluten-free.

Food: Frozen meat patties, sausages, and hot dogs
The culprit: They often use bread crumbs, wheat flour, or wheat starch as a binding agent or filler.
Solution: Read labels carefully, and make your own when possible, or simply abstain.

Food: Japanese soba noodles and miso
The culprit: Soba noodles are gluten-free if made with pure buckwheat, but they can also be made with wheat flour. As for miso, which is usually fermented soy, it’s also sometimes mixed with fermented barley, wheat, or rice.
Solution: Skip these when ordering out, and read labels carefully before buying to make at home.

Food: Imitation seafood, such as crab in sushi
The culprit: It often contains wheat starch.
Solution: Opt for pure, raw fish, and watch out for popular seafood and crab dips.