While most people can benefit from reducing their gluten consumption, for individuals with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease, avoiding gluten is not just a dietary choice—it’s a necessity for optimal health. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, can trigger a range of adverse reactions in those with gluten-related disorders. While it’s relatively straightforward to steer clear of obvious sources of gluten, such as bread and pasta, it’s the hidden sources that can catch you off guard.
Hidden sources of gluten
- Sauces and Gravies
Did you know that sauces and gravies often use flour as a thickening agent? This is especially common in classic recipes like roux-based sauces or gravies. Soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and even some salad dressings may also contain wheat-based ingredients. If you’re searching for these products, always check the ingredients label!
Pre-packaged or canned soups often contain wheat-based thickeners. Even seemingly simple soups like chicken broth may include hidden gluten. Check labels for gluten-free versions of soups or make your own using gluten-free broths and fresher ingredients.
- Processed Meats
Certain processed meats, like sausages and hotdogs, can contain wheat-based fillers or binders to enhance texture. Look for gluten-free labels on processed meat products or choose fresh, unprocessed cuts.
Condiments like mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise might contain modified food starch, which can be wheat-derived. Another reminder to read labels carefully and opt for condiments labeled as gluten-free!
- Flavored Snacks and Candies/Sweets
While we recommend steering clear of processed foods, here’s another not-so-great fact about them – flavored chips, popcorn, and snack mixes can be dusted with wheat-based seasonings or coatings, while candies and sweets can contain wheat-based ingredients like thickeners and binders. Reach for a fresh snack instead like some berries or veggies with hummus!
- Medications and Supplements
Certain medications and dietary supplements may contain gluten as a filler or binder. Always inform your healthcare provider or pharmacist about your gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, or gluten-free lifestyle to ensure they prescribe or recommend gluten-free options.
- Alcoholic Beverages
Beer is a well-known source of gluten, but other alcoholic beverages can also contain gluten, especially those derived from grains like barley or rye. Opt for gluten-free beer or spirits like wine, cider, or gluten-free grain-based alcohol.
Navigating hidden sources of gluten can be challenging. However, for maintaining your health and well-being if you are on a gluten-free diet, it’s essential. Always be diligent about reading food labels, and when in doubt, choose foods that are explicitly labeled as gluten-free. Reaching for whole food products more often than not also makes avoiding gluten easier!