What Does Gluten Free Mean? A simple explanation of the FDA’s gluten free labeling rule

Since the new FDA regulations of gluten free labeling, I’ve noticed a lot of confusion over what “gluten free” on a label actually means. I hope that this article clears up any misconceptions. I’ve included links to the FDA site at the bottom. Continue reading

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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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