Digestive Health

Hidden Gluten: Where To Find It

Beware of barley, do not seek solace in starch, and don’t believe that wheat-free always means gluten-free. Take a look at the food products and ingredients you should be avoiding on a gluten-free diet.

If you’re trying to avoid gluten or have to avoid it for medicinal purposes, it’s important you get all the facts about what gluten is and where it’s likely to be lurking.


Although it would be nice if every packaging listed ‘gluten-free’ or just used one stock phrase to refer to gluten, unfortunately it’s not that simple. Gluten & wheat have many aliases and food companies do not always take these into account when formulating their products.

Read the packaging wrong, and you might have severe digestive repercussions. So get wise on where gluten and wheat are hiding with these names listed below:

Ingredients involving gluten (the most common are emboldened)

  • Barley
  • Yeast
  • Bulgur
  • Durum
  • Farro/faro (also known as spelt or dinkel)
  • Graham flour
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Kamut
  • Malt, malt extract, malt syrup, malt flavoring
  • Malt vinegar
  • Malted milk
  • Matzo, matzo meal
  • Modified wheat starch
  • Oatmeal, oat bran, oat flour, whole oats (unless they are from pure, uncontaminated oats)
  • Rye bread and flour
  • Seitan (a meat-like food derived from wheat gluten used in many vegetarian dishes)
  • Semolina
  • Triticale
  • Bran
  • Wheat germ
  • Wheat starch

Food products to watch out for

  • Pasta
  • Noodles
  • Breads & Tortillas
  • Pastries & Cakes
  • Cereals
  • Sauces & Dressings (malt vinegar is a common ingredient)
  • Crackers & Crisps
  • Processed meats (starch and dextrin are likely ingredients)
  • Meat Substitutes (wheat gluten is usually used for veggie burgers, etc.)
  • Candy bars (brown rice syrup may be made with barley enzymes)
  • Soup (surprisingly, the thicker soups will use flour to thicken the soup)

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