Starting out on a gluten-free diet can be very confusing and overwhelming. Gluten can hide in some surprising places and in foods that you would not expect. The rule of shopping when you’re gluten-free is ALWAYS READ THE LABEL – ingredients, nutrition label – all of it. For more in-depth information on how to read labels for gluten, here is my post on gluten-free labeling.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. It is the structure that allows pizza crust to be stretched and tossed in the air and bread to be kneaded without falling apart. Gluten is what makes croissants flaky and bagels chewy. Gluten-free doughs do not have this quality. Read more about grains with gluten and gluten-free grains.
It would be pretty easy to be on a gluten-free diet if every product had a label saying that it contained gluten. But, unfortunately labeling in the US does not require gluten to be named as an ingredient if it is hidden under other names. And yes, gluten hides under some other names besides wheat, rye and barley. The good news is that US labeling does require wheat to be clearly listed as an ingredient. And a 2013 law created standards for products that are labeled gluten-free.
Which Foods Have Gluten?
Wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, einkorn, durum wheat (semolina), triticale, farro and emmer.
Rice, millet, sorghum, buckwheat (not related to wheat), corn, teff, amaranth, quinoa. For more information on gluten-free grains check out my post Gluten-Free Grains
Yes, oats are gluten-free. But oats hare often grown near fields containing wheat and are often processed in the same mills as wheat. So for very sensitive individuals, like those with Celiac Disease, oats may not be safe.
Yes, corn, corn meal, popcorn and polenta are gluten-free.
Yes potatoes are gluten-free, This includes russet, red and yellow potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams.
The bran is the hard outer covering of grains. Wheat is the most common form of bran. So bran is gluten-free only if it is sourced from a gluten-free grain.
Yes, beans are gluten-free. Beans are legumes and gluten is found only in grains.
Malt vinegar, imitation krab, breakfast cereals sweetened with malt syrup or malt extract syrup (barley), baking sprays, Red Vines, Twizzlers, cream soups, boullion cubes.
No, not necessarily. Because gluten is found in other grains besides wheat, wheat free does not automatically mean gluten-free.