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
brand new to gluten free?
If you’ve just been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, or a doctor or trusted medical professional has just suggested that you try a gluten free diet, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed right now. You want to know the other names for gluten, but you might not even be sure what gluten is.
If you’re in this position, click over to my Gluten Free Diet Quick Start Guide first. (Don’t worry it opens in a new tab so you won’t lose this page). It tells you what gluten actually is, has a link to a list of familiar gluten free foods (this will help you breathe, many of the foods you eat are already gluten free), and a link to a tutorial on safe gluten free baking, as well as other helpful advice and info.
Now, on to the other names for gluten.
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.
- All purpose flour
- Flour Tortillas
- Pita bread
- Couscous (just a really small pasta)
- Pie crust
- 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 Vinegar
- Whoppers Malt Milk Balls
Grains and Flours That Contain Gluten
- Graham flour
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.