Other Names for Gluten

This is the place you want to start your journey. If you’re going to go gluten free, you need to know what to watch out for. Here is a quick and easy to read list of the other names for gluten.


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Other Names For Gluten

Is this gluten free? Are you sure? Gluten is a protein found in some grains, wheat, barley and rye are most notable. Gluten can hide under pseudonyms, some are just other names for flour, some are ingredients made from gluten containing grains. Watch out for these:

Products Typically Made From Wheat

Unless these are specifically labeled “gluten free” or in the case of tortillas “corn tortillas” these products are typically made with wheat flour and contain gluten. Some corn tortillas will contain wheat flour, so always check the label.

  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • All purpose flour
  • Flour
  • Flour Tortillas
  • Matzo
  • Pita bread
  • Couscous (just a really small pasta)
  • Cake
  • Pie crust
  • Muffins
  • Other baked goods and pastries

Products Typically Made From Barley

Many varieties of alcohol are made with barley. If you’re going to imbibe, stick with a gluten free beer brand, vodka or rum. And never, ever, ever, get malt in your milkshake.

  • Malt
  • Malt Vinegar
  • Beer
  • Whiskey
  • Scotch
  • Whoppers Malt Milk Balls

Grains and Flours That Contain Gluten

  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Spelt
  • Bran
  • Flour
  • Graham flour
  • Farina
  • Durum
  • Semolina

Other Names That May Mean Gluten

These aren’t always made from wheat, but unless you can confirm with the manufacturer that it’s gluten free, avoid these.

  • Glucose (a sugar that can be derived from wheat. If you’re in the USA it’s usually not wheat based (it will say “wheat” on the label in the USA if it’s there.) It’s very processed and tests show a very low gluten level, but some people have reported reactions.)
  • Vitamin E (sometimes derived from wheat germ, even in beauty products)
  • Modified food starch (this is usually corn or soy in the USA and is gluten free. If it contains wheat, it must say “wheat” on the lable)
  • Tocopheryls (this means Vitamin E)
  • Natural Flavors (sometimes made from barley, especially in caramel)
  • Hydrolized Vegetable Protein (in many vegetarian meat replacements and shampoo)
  • Maltodextrin (this is usually from corn in the USA and must say “wheat” on the label if it’s made from wheat)

These are the most common. You can find a really complete list here: http://www.celiac.com/articles/182/1/Unsafe-Gluten-Free-Food-List-Unsafe-Ingredients/Page1.html

A Note About Oats

Are Oats Gluten Free? Oats do contain a protein similar to gluten, but not exactly the same, so whether you can eat oats really depends on your body. Some people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease see their symptoms return when they eat oats. Sometimes this is caused by cross contamination during production, sometimes it’s a sensitivity to the protein in oats (this is called cross-reactivity and can be caused by oats and other grains like rice and corn, if you want more information here’s an excellent post from TheDr.com What is Cross-Reactivity. If you’re going to eat oats, I recommend a gluten free variety like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oats.Personally, I can’t eat oats, so you’ll never find a recipe here that uses them.

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48 thoughts on “Other Names for Gluten

  1. You put an addendum on the oats, you should have put an addendum on the corn. It also has a very similar protein form, and many persons who have Celiac, or have gluten intolerance cannot handle corn either.
    You also left off a BIG one, Maltodextrin, which is always derived from either wheat or corn.

    • Hey Val! Thanks for dropping by and for the heads up about maltodextrin, I’ll add it now. It’s not an exhaustive list, just those most commonly encountered, which is why I linked to Celiac.com’s very thorough list. I’ve included oats, mostly because they used to be a source of considerable controversy in the gf community. I’m planning a whole post about cross-reactivity to corn, rice and other grains. Until I get it up, I’ll link to an amazing resource from TheDr.com in my Oat Note. :)

  2. I was really excited to see a gluten free microwave mug cake, after years of seemingly random issues I had a customer that regularly came though my line started talking to me about being diagnosed with celiacs and said I had the same symtoms as she did have been gluton free for 2 weeks and most of my symtoms are gone and the ones that didnt just are going to take longer for my body to flush out love all the supportive groups i have found as this is a hard time for me and my family of 5. So thank you for this websites and links they are so helpful and appreciated

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  4. Pingback: Is Corn Gluten Gluten-Free? | know gluten

  5. I appreciate all the information I’m getting from this column. I am confused with corn starch if it is gluten-free? Also, I buy “Mission” corn tortillas that claim they’re GF. Do you think that is reliable?


    • Thanks Irene! I’m glad you’re finding the information helpful! Corn starch is gluten free. Mission corn tortillas are gluten free. They’re made in a factory that also produces wheat tortillas, but they’re not made on the same lines as the wheat tortillas so the chance of cross contamination is lower. Some people are more sensitive than others, so if you find you’re experiencing symptoms after eating corn tortillas it could be that there’s too much cross contamination for you. If you find you’re fine, then Mission is probably okay for you.
      If you want to be extra sure, you can buy gluten free tortillas from Udi’s. If you’re in the states, you should be able to get them at some larger grocery stores and at Whole Foods.

  6. Hi Jodi,
    I have been diagnosed of having Celiac about 2 & 1/2 years now. I have been on a strict gluten free diet since. I have had some bouts of nausea & diarrhea at times I’ve eaten out in restaurant’s especially with awful painful stomach pains. My body knows immediately when I have eaten crossed contaminated food. I want to say thank you for your list of hidden gluten products that will come in handy when shopping as well as eating out. Does your site carry recipes as well? I need some gluten free recipes for the holidays. I buy most of my gluten free products from Publix & Walmart. Is it possible because I’ve been gluten free for so long now that my makeup or shampoos and vitamins could affect me? There are times I feel very sick & I’ve not eaten out of the normal gluten free diet. Also that I have broken out in a rash. Look forward to hearing from you. Thank you so much for your valuable information.

    • Hi Ann! So glad you stopped by my site! I do have recipes. There’s a tab at the top of the site where you can find recipes and I’m polishing up a new and improved recipe directory. I also have a list of 100% gluten free restaurants that you might find useful, you can find it in the tabs at the top of the site. Vitamins with gluten will be the same as eating food with gluten. I personally find I can’t use shampoo or makeup with gluten in it, I have a horrible reaction. I look for gluten free products. I avoid anything with hydrolyzed protein, vegetable or plant protein, the word wheat, any oats because they could be cross contaminated, vitamin E (which can come from gluten sources). I have good luck with some Dove products and some Aussie Hair products, but not all of these are on my safe list. Neutrogena Naturals skin care products are all gluten free and Red Apple Lipstick has gluten free makeup.
      Thanks for visiting! Let me know if you have any other questions!

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  8. Whiskey and scotch are gluten free as the distilling process kills the gluten but sometimes they put some additives back in so you do have to check. Even some We have yet to find a Single malt scotch that has caused any problems. BUT have recently found out some wineries reseal their casks with a gluten containing glue so you have to be careful about that. Best thing is check as some vodkas contain gluten…especially flavored ones and some rums to too. But, most hard ciders are gluten free. Again check.

    • Hey Betty! Thanks for the comment! There’s actually some debate about the safety of both grain based spirits and wine aged in oak casks sealed with wheat paste. I’ve actually just written a post about it with lots of links from all sides of the debate and also some info on Omission Beer which has conversationally been endorsed by the Celiac Sprue Association . The post will publish later today.

  9. Pingback: Are Whiskey, Wine and Beer Gluten Free? | know gluten

  10. Thank you I was diagnosed 2 months ago with Celiac disease, and this is very helpful. Thank you!!

  11. Hi Jodi, I’ve been having problems for a couple years now. Recently it was suggested that I go gf. I just want to cry! It’s everywhere! I’m so hungry! I’m hoping ur sight will help! thanks in advance.


    • Hi! I’ve been there, hang in there! At first it’s going to feel like you’re on a really restrictive diet, but you’ll get the hang of new foods soon. For now, stick with foods that don’t come in packages, meat, vegetables, fruit, cheese and eggs are easy and all gluten free. You can also eat rice (plain rice, not the flavor packaged rice-a-roni) and potatoes. Depending on where you live, you can also pick up some pretty good gluten free substitutes for your favorite foods. Let me know if you have any questions. :)

  12. Spelt does not comtain gluten when baking with spelt if you dont use xanthum or guar gum you baked goods crumble and fall apart. My mother was told by a nutrionist that the body digests spelt like vegetables and not carbs. I cannot have corn, sorghum, black beans, brown rice and many other things that are classed as “gluten free” so please dont give spelt a bad reputation. Thank you.

    • Hi Cecilia, thanks so much for your comment. You’re actually mistaken, spelt not only contains gluten, spelt is wheat. In the article “Spelt is Wheat” on the Celiac Sprue Association website, Dr. Scott Bean Ph.D., Research Chemist for the USDA-ARS in Manhattan, KS, is quoted as saying “…there is no basis to say spelt is different from ‘wheat.’ The proteins in spelt are essentially identical to those in modern bread wheat…” http://www.csaceliacs.info/celiac_disease_defined_spelt_is_wheat.jsp
      The About.com page on Celiac disease is even more direct, ” Spelt is a species of wheat, so spelt and spelt flour are NOT gluten-free.
      People who believe that spelt (scientifically known as Triticum spelta) is gluten-free and safe for people with celiac disease are mistaken.

      According to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004, foods that contain spelt or kamut cannot carry “wheat-free” or “wheat-alternative” labels.”
      To sum up, spelt not only DOES contain gluten, spelt is actually wheat.

  13. Glucose and Vitamin E have nothing to do with gluten. Please cite a source for these claims. If you told every person who went gluten free to also avoid glucose… well lets just say they wouldn’t last long. Glucose is what is used by our cells to create ATP, the energy our body requires to live. Vitamin E is also an important nutrient and avoiding it entirely is not a good idea.

  14. whiskey and scotch are gluten-free– the distillation process removes all traces of gluten. i have very serious celiac and have no problems with whiskey or scotch.

  15. If you are looking for gluten free personal care products, Arbonne products are completely gluten free! If you are interested in learning more, contact me at mimiday@gmail.com.

  16. Does reducing Gluten, really help? I thought it had to be cut out of your diet all together??

  17. Thank you so much for your website. I have been diagnosed with gluten sensitivity. Gluten actually causes an autoimmune response in my body. When I eat gluten, my body thnks there is an invader in my brain and sends antibodies to attack it. So everytime I eat gluten, my body attacks my brain. So I definitely have to be GF. I was tested for cross reactivity and I am fine with corn, rice, potatoes and yeast. Nothing showed up as positive. I am in detox right now and when I can start eaing other things again, I want something chocolate! I have a friend that is GF and buys GF flour. Do you know what that is and where to purchase it? thank you again for this wonderful website!

    • Hi Cyndi! I have “brain” reactions too. If you live in North America, the UK or Australia, you should be able to find gluten free flour in larger grocery stores in larger cities. (Though, increasingly, little grocery stores in small towns will carry it.)

  18. Thank you for sharing this comprehensive list! I have recently begun to reduce gluten as part of an elimination diet to see if wheat/gluten is triggering my eczema outbreaks. I was diagnosed 10 years ago with a severe allergy to dairy (cow’s milk) so I am very familiar with reading labels and knowing other names for dairy and milk products, but this list is SUPER HELPFUL as I learn a new trade, per se. Thanks again!!!!!

  19. Pingback: Go Gluten Free in 8 Easy Steps | know gluten

  20. Hi Jodi
    I m recently trying going gluten free as i have auto immune disease( hashimoto hypothyroidis) . So i m avoiding wheat and wheat made foods. But is it ok to have rice and rice made food? And is it okay to have soybean cooked food?
    I found ur page is very helpful and inspiring

    • Hi Rabeya! Welcome! Yes, if you’re just giving up gluten, rice and food made with rice flour is fine to have. Rice is gluten free. :)

  21. I would very much love to see an extended list. Wow so many times I have reacted to things I would have not thought twice about.

    • I know, right? When I first went gluten free, I would always run into trouble with barley and malt which seem to be in all sorts of crazy things like soup and bbq sauce. I’m working on ways to make this list more helpful. I don’t want it to be too overwhelming when people see it, but I want it to be as comprehensive as possible so people aren’t getting accidentally glutened.

  22. Hi. I am Coeliac and from Australia but travelling to the USA shortly. Can you advise me on US labelling laws. Does wheat, barley, oats and rye have to be identified by ingredient on all food labels?
    It does in Aust and so I want to be sure of what the laws are in the USA so I know what to look for.

    • Hi! The FDA requires wheat to be identified, but not barley, rye or oats. In fact, you can buy gluten free oats in the USA (although, I’m pretty sure the USA is the only country to allow oats to be labeled gluten free).
      Our gluten free labeling laws are pretty good though, a product must contain no more than 20ppm gluten to be labeled gluten free. Companies don’t have to label something gluten free, even if it is gluten free, so don’t worry if you don’t see the words “gluten free” on a product that doesn’t contain gluten ingredients, but more companies are putting it on the label to make it easier for consumers.

      Unless you’re going somewhere really remote, you should have a great selection of specialty gluten free items at regular grocery stores. Check out a Super Target, they generally have a large selection and their prices are pretty good.

      If you’re going to be dining out, my favorite chain restaurants that cater to gluten free are Outback Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill, California Pizza Kitchen, Mellow Mushroom and Chili’s. Make sure you tell the waiter that you have a “gluten allergy”, this will ensure they take extra care in the kitchen. (Many restaurants don’t understand celiac, so “allergy” is always the way to go, even though it’s not actually an allergy).

      If you happen to be going to Disney World in Orlando, check out Gluten Free in Orlando http://www.gfinorlando.com/ There’s lots of great info on eating gluten free at Orlando restaurants and Disney World.

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