What is gluten?

It may seem like rocket science at first but in the simplest verbiage gluten is a protein found in grains, it is a protein found in wheat, rye or barley.  Oats/Oatmeal does not contain gluten itself but is often cross contaminated during the growing or processing stages.

Something to keep an eye out on products and labels is that things may say wheat free but that does not mean gluten free, it may still contain rye or barley.  So therefore, wheat free does not mean gluten free.

Gluten can also hide in everyday products that you may not realize.  Food regulations do require common allergens to be listed on labeling like: peanuts, soy, wheat etc… but no packaging is required to say gluten free.  Therefore its important to learn what ingredients can and can not be eaten, along with modifiers, binders, and stabilizers and don’t forget the strange sounding ingredients that you might just skip over like triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)  Luckily though over the years many grocery stores have created a gluten free section in the store with many labels that have GF, DF, V as symbols for gluten free, dairy free and vegan options.

Packaging is required to list if wheat is in the ingredients but it is not required to state rye, barley, malt or any binders that celiacs or gluten sensitive people can’t have.  For example, Ketchup does have gluten in it but nothing is listed on the bottle because a binder is used in the ketchup that is not required to be listed.

Here are some common and not so common sense items that contain gluten:

Common Sense

Beer, breads, pizza, bagels, cinnamon buns, or biscuts, cereal, most muffin or bread and cake mixes, cookies, donuts, brownies, all those wonderfully processed crackers and chips in the middle isles that you are use to eating, many sauces, mixes, or already packaged seasoning mixes like taco seasonings.

Not So Common Sense

soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, barbecue sauce, many sauces in general, things with malt and malt vinegar, imitation crab or seafood’s, licorice, oatmeal, some tortilla chips and wraps, ice creams, granola and candy bars, dextrin, some natural flavorings, starch (in pharmaceuticals), some yeasts (like brewers yeast), some wines, some chicken stocks/and broths, blue cheese, some Popsicle, vegetable protein, sausages, beef jerky, some canned nuts like Planters nuts, some dried fruits like bananas, lunch meats and tobacco…yes I said tobacco!!!

It’s all starting to make sense now, I can remember back to 2004 when I would eat oatmeal mostly on back-country trips or camping trips and I would get diarrhea or loose stool after eating it for breakfast. Also, licorice would make me sick every time I ate it since I was a kid, I always thought I was a weird kid because I didn’t like it because of how it made me feel!  Not to mention the smell of Sambuca or Jagermister in my adult life, if a shot was pored you would see me across the bar, not only the smell, but the taste and the end result or day after result of being on the toilette…No thank you, count me out!!!

Links for further reading:

Gluten is defined as…

What is Gluten

Gluten Free Girl and Chef

Other Hidden Ingredients



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