Wishing you had a good list of ingredients containing gluten? Now you do thanks to this post. I’ve been long asked to share a list of what ingredients contain gluten and decided to put one together for after seeing that many different lists were missing key ingredients that I’ve included here.
Having a review of a list like this when I first went gluten-free was helpful so that I at least knew what some of the biggest red flags were that could possibly show up on food products. Since gluten-free labeling is only for food and supplements, knowing at least some of these hidden gluten ingredients are helpful for spotting gluten hidden in bodycare products, makeup, pet care products, and more.
Why Spotting Hidden Gluten Ingredients In Food Is Important
I’m sure you’ve got the best of intentions to weed out all hidden gluten from your diet if gluten does make you sick. Small exposures perpetuate a cycle of inflammation that prevents you from really feeling like yourself again.
Additionally, gluten has one important superpower that most other foods do not — it causes leaky gut in everyone no matter whether you’re celiac, you’re gluten sensitive, or you have no reaction at all to gluten. A 2015 study looking at the effects of gluten on all three groups by a team including Dr. Alessio Fasano (who has been interviewed on the podcast) demonstrated that gluten spares no one.
Leaky gut (or more the more medically-appropriate term “gut permeability”) is a significant factor for those of us who react to gluten. It’s believed to be part of the mechanism behind triggering autoimmunity in the Functional Medicine world and is responsible for increasing the number of sensitivities you have to other foods.
So doing what you can to prevent all future exposures to gluten is key to getting and staying better. Yes… little exposures here and there do add up.
Hidden Gluten Ingredients in Food: A Word of Caution
To be honest, I’ve avoided sharing a list of ingredients containing gluten for a long time. I had a number of reasons why I didn’t want to do so.
First, you can’t possibly memorize all of the hidden gluten ingredients that could possibly show up in your food and body care products. I mean… would you really remember something like Amp-isostearoyl hydrolyzed or Triticale (x triticosecale)? Hmm… me neither.
Second, my experience coaching clients to go from total confusion to mastery of a gluten-free diet has proven over and over again that learning to properly read food labels is a better way to go. It’s more effective and way more efficient. (Psst… Join me Wednesday to learn how to read them for FREE.)
Third, even if none of the following ingredients appear in an ingredient list, it does not mean the food/food product is safe to eat. There’s so many factors beyond just the ingredients listed in a product that make it gluten-free (which in the US is that a product would test to under 20ppm of gluten according to the FDA).
A study in 2014 found that 20% of gluten-free products tested for gluten were actually not gluten-free! They contained over equal to or above the 20ppm threshold that’s legal in the US. And while you can scour ingredient lists, still not feeling better may suggest that you’re still being exposed to gluten and preventing your body from healing.
The bottom line is that you MUST learn to read food labels so as to avoid hidden gluten. Fixating on ingredient lists isn’t full-proof… at all.
Your Definitive List of Ingredients Containing Gluten
The following list of ingredients containing gluten was compiled from other lists as well as my own experience since 2008 living and working in this seemingly treacherous gluten-filled world.
Please know that this list is not the end-all-be-all of hidden gluten ingredients in food.
As I previously stated, a lack of any or all of the following ingredients does not mean that a product is safe to eat.
Understanding gluten-free labeling is critical to mastering a gluten-free diet. No list or even mobile app can replace knowing what to look for.
If you don’t feel confident about reading labels or understand the in’s and out’s of how to quickly find safe gluten-free products, join me this Wednesday for a 100% educational webinar (that’s totally free) to learn the ropes. CLICK HERE to grab your seat!
(NOTE- Items marked with an asterisk (*) mean that they may be gluten-free depending on ingredients used as well as a variety of other factors that include a company testing their products to comply with gluten-free labeling.)
|Abyssinian hard (wheat Triticum durum)||Amp-isostearoyl hydrolyzed|
|Barley grass (may contain seeds)*||Barley hordeum vulgare|
|Barley malt||Barley malt beer|
|Barley malt extract||Barley malt flavoring|
|Blue cheese (made with bread)||Bran|
|Bread crumbs* (including Panko)||Bread flour|
|Brewer’s yeast||Brown flour|
|Brown rice syrup*||Bulgur (bulgar wheat/nuts)|
|Bulgur wheat||Club wheat (Triticum aestivum subspecies compactum)|
|Common wheat (Triticum aestivum)||Couscous|
|Disodium wheat germamido peg-2 sulfosuccinate||Durum wheat (Triticum durum)|
|Edible starch||Einkorn (Triticum monococcum)|
|Emmer (Triticum dicoccon)||Farina|
|Filler||Flour or Enriched flour (normally this is wheat)|
|Fu (dried wheat gluten)||Germ|
|Grain-based vinegar||Granary flour|
|Hing (spice)||Hydrolyzed wheat gluten|
|Hydrolyzed wheat protein||Hydrolyzed wheat protein pg-propyl silanetriol|
|Malt flavoring||Malt syrup|
|Malt vinegar||Matzo semolina|
|Oat Flour*||Oriental wheat (Triticum turanicum)|
|Pasta (includes whole wheat, enriched, orzo, macaroni)||Pearl barley|
|Persian wheat (Triticum carthlicum)||Poulard wheat (Triticum turgidum)|
|Polish wheat (Triticum polonicum)||Quick Oats*|
|Rice malt (if barley or koji are used)||Roux|
|Rye flour||Secale cereal|
|Shot wheat (Triticum aestivum)||Shoyu|
|Small spelt||Soy Sauce*|
|Sprouted wheat or barley||Stearyldimoniumhydroxypropyl hydrolyzed wheat protein|
|Suet in packets||Tabbouleh|
|Textured vegetable protein (TYP)||Timopheevi wheat (Triticum timopheevii)|
|Triticale (x triticosecale)||Triticum vulgare (wheat) flour lipids|
|Triticum vulgare (wheat) germ extract||Triticum vulgare (wheat) germ oil|
|Udon (wheat noodles)||Unbleached flour|
|Vanilla extract*||Vanilla flavoring*|
|Vavilovi wheat (Triticum aestivum)||Vegetable starch|
|Wheat berries||Wheat germ oil|
|Wheat germ extract||Wheat grass (may contain seeds)*|
|Wheat nuts||Wheat protein|
|Wheat starch*||Whole-meal flour|
|Wild einkorn (Triticum boeotictim)||Wild emmer (Triticum dicoccoides)|
Don’t Do This When It Comes to Food Labels
While this list of ingredients containing gluten is certainly helpful, it’s not going to save you from hidden gluten. I want to be very honest and upfront about that point.
In this age of food empowerment, everyone wants to be a food detective seeking out junk in their food. While I totally appreciate the effort, you can’t be a food detective with gluten. It just doesn’t work the same way as finding ingredients used in making yoga mats.
I can’t even tell you how many posts I see every day of women asking strangers in facebook groups if random food products are safe from gluten by taking a photo of the product’s ingredients list. This picture on the left is just one of the many screenshots I’ve snapped.
Doing this is one of the most unsafe things you can do when reading labels for hidden gluten – crowdsource product information from complete strangers who don’t work for nor have anything to do with a particular food company’s products.
As I’ve already shared and repeatedly stated, you can’t know from reading an ingredient list if there’s gluten in a product. Sure it might *look* okay, but only the company can tell you for certain.
And if you have to ask complete strangers or stand in the grocery store aisle for hours feeling totally confused, then you don’t know how to read labels.
If you’re spending hours researching online trying to figure out if specific ingredients contain gluten, then you also don’t know how to read labels.
Here’s What To Do Instead
Can I help you? I’d really love to!!!
I know how powerful going gluten-free (and staying gluten-free) truly is and it breaks my heart to see so many out there who haven’t mastered this one essential skill to being gluten-free.
It’s not all that hard, but it’s important to cut through all the confusion so that you can identify safe products in minutes on your own. And if there’s something you’re really unsure about, I want to share with you whom to speak with and what to ask to get straight answers.
Have you see these on your food? — “This product was made on the same equipment as…” or “This product was made in the same facility as…”
I want to help you stop being afraid of them by clearly explaining what they mean in terms of your diet safety (as well as what it means when you don’t see them at all).
If you want to really get a handle on being able to quickly and correctly deciphering food products’ labels, then join me this Wednesday 5/18 at 7pm ET for a totally FREE webinar called “How to Read Food Labels Like a Pro.” I’ll be joined by Joel Warady of Enjoy Life Foods who will pull back the curtains of what you need to know that goes into actually making safe gluten-free food products from a company’s perspective.
CLICK HERE to Save Your FREE Seat & Read Labels Like A Pro
This is a 100% educational webinar sponsored by Enjoy Life Foods. We’re going to spend the entire time diving deep into the practical how’s and why’s so that you have the skills to do this the very next time you look at a food product or head to the store. Plus we’re going to do a live Q&A at the end to answer YOUR questions.
To be clear, this is a one-time event that won’t be presented again. Make sure to grab a FREE seat and share this with friends you know who need help!
PS. Have you seen any other ingredients that aren’t mentioned here that you know or suspect have gluten in them? Share them below so that this can be a growing resource for you as well as others in our community!
Hey Jennifer. I’ve heard that red dye #40 contains gluten, is that true?
It’s not something that typically does, though I personally would tell you to avoid things with food dyes (unless they come from natural sources) in them as they are highly processed foods. That said, there’s always the risk of contamination, but that’s something the food manufacturer would need to ensure is GF if they want to mark it as such. Here’s a good article talking about this question — http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/food-dye-gluten-12047.html
I know maltodextrin can come from a gluten source.
Typically in the US, the source is corn, not a source that will contain gluten. That’s why buying products from companies who make sure all ingredients are safe is key because we can’t be label detectives and know where the maltodextrin came from or if it’s contaminated… let alone any other ingredient.
YES!! Watch for it in vitamins & prescribed medications too! I will get a MIGRAINE very quickly from MALTODEXTRIN before any other symptom…So either most maltodextrin is from a gluten source or contaminated product…
What do the asterisks indicate? I see no explanation.
Never mind. Found it!