Gluten Free Labeling

When checking nutrition labels to avoid gluten, it’s essential to look for both obvious and hidden sources of gluten. Here are the key points and ingredients to watch for:

1. Obvious Sources of Gluten

  • Wheat: Includes all forms such as spelt, durum, emmer, einkorn, farro, and khorasan wheat (Kamut).
  • Barley: Includes barley malt, malt extract, malt syrup, and malt vinegar.
  • Rye: Often found in rye bread and some cereals.
  • Triticale: A hybrid of wheat and rye.

2. Hidden Sources of Gluten

  • Malt: Malt flavoring, malt vinegar, malt extract.
  • Brewer’s Yeast: Often a byproduct of brewing beer.
  • Oats: Unless specifically labeled gluten-free, as they can be contaminated with gluten during processing.

3. Ingredients That May Contain Gluten

  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
  • Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP)
  • Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
  • Modified Food Starch: If not specified as derived from corn, potato, or other gluten-free sources.
  • Dextrin: Often made from wheat.
  • Seasonings and Spice Blends: These can sometimes contain gluten as an anti-caking agent or filler.
  • Soy Sauce: Often made with wheat unless specified as gluten-free.
  • Bouillon Cubes or Broths
  • Imitation Seafood
  • Processed Meats: Such as sausages, deli meats, and meat substitutes.
  • Gravy Mixes and Sauces
  • Salad Dressings: Some contain gluten as a thickener.
  • Cereals and Granola Bars
  • Snack Foods: Like chips and crackers, unless labeled gluten-free.

4. Additives and Binders

  • Artificial Colors and Flavors
  • Stabilizers and Emulsifiers
  • Thickeners: Such as some gums and gels.
  • Preservatives: Certain preservatives may be gluten-derived.

5. Allergen Statements

  • Look for statements like “contains wheat” or “may contain wheat” under the ingredient list. However, this may not cover all gluten sources.

6. Certified Gluten-Free Labels

  • Look for products labeled as “Certified Gluten-Free,” which meet strict gluten-free standards.

7. Cross-Contamination Warnings

  • Products that are processed in facilities that handle gluten-containing ingredients might carry warnings such as “processed in a facility that also processes wheat.”

Practical Tips

  • Familiarize Yourself with Gluten-Free Brands: Many brands specialize in gluten-free products.
  • Use Apps and Resources: Apps that scan barcodes and provide gluten-free information can be helpful.
  • Consult with Manufacturers: When in doubt, contact the manufacturer to confirm if a product is gluten-free.

By being vigilant and knowledgeable about these various sources of gluten, you can more effectively avoid gluten in your diet.

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Anne Marie Berggren RDN, MS, CDN, CNSC is a Registered Dietitian with a Master's Degree in Nutrition, training in integrative and functional nutrition, nutrition for mental health, obesity and weight management, is a board certified nutrition support clinician, and an adjunct professor for the Stony Brook Graduate Nutrition Program teaching advanced clinical nutrition.

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