What Foods Contain Gluten?

Beth Asaff
Read ingredients for gluten

If you've learned you have celiac disease or suffer from gluten intolerance or allergy, knowing what foods contain gluten is important to your quality of life. Keep this list of foods handy when you go shopping or plan your menus for the week; it may save you from unexpected contamination.

Foods Containing Gluten

One of the most widely used sources of gluten is grains and grain products. Gluten is a type of protein found in some grains. Since flour is made from grain, this affects many baked products including breads, pastas, and cereals. Not only do these grains contain gluten, but any flours made from these grains will add gluten to your own recipes as well.

Grains Containing Gluten

Avoid the use of products made with flours from these grains:

  • Rye
  • Wheat
  • Barley

Words to Watch for On Labels

In addition to knowing what grains to avoid, you need to know to avoid additives that may contain gluten. It's also good to be aware of the many other names that wheat may go by on the label.

Avoid any foods that contain the following:

  • Bran
  • Durum flour
  • Einkorn
  • Farina
  • Farro
  • Gluten
  • Graham
  • Kamut
  • Oat bran
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Triticale
  • Wheat germ
  • Maltodextrin
  • Dextrin
  • Natural flavors
  • MSG
  • Emulsifiers (unless specified as soy or another non-gluten containing grain)
  • Modified food starch
  • Food starch
  • Cornstarch (While cornstarch does not contain gluten, it is frequently contaminated during manufacturing and should be avoided unless labeled "gluten-free.")
  • Lecithin

Gluten in Processed Foods

Now that you know what grains to avoid, its time to take a look at an even bigger challenge: processed foods. Many processed foods contain gluten or may be contaminated during their production. Always check the label or call the manufacturer if you are unsure whether one of these foods is gluten-free:

  • Beer
  • Cold cuts
  • Egg substitutes
  • Flavored potato chips
  • Herbal teas (Not all herbal teas include gluten, but it is important to check ingredients.)
  • Instant rice mixes
  • Pudding
  • Gravy
  • Salad dressings
  • Some chocolates
  • Shredded cheese
  • Icing and cake toppings
  • Confectioner's sugar
  • Canned soup
  • Stock or broth
  • Powdered onion
  • Powdered garlic
  • Mixed nuts
  • Canned vegetables
  • Dips
  • Dehydrated fruits
  • Granola
  • Sausage
  • Corn chips
  • Popsicles
  • Ice cream
  • Brined turkey

What About Oats?

Oats were once classified in the group of grains which contain gluten. This is because testing showed trace amounts of gluten in oats. However, more recently it has been discovered that gluten found in oats is present because they have been processed using the same equipment used to process wheat. With the improvements made to processing procedures, today most nutritionists consider oats to be gluten-free.

However, if you suffer from celiac disease, it is best to talk oats over with your health care provider. If you and your doctor decide that oats can be added to the list of items to eat, then it might be best to buy organic oats through your local health food store to lessen the chance of cross contamination.

Keep a List

Once you've checked an item for gluten, start a list of things to avoid or things you can eat. Keep this list of foods containing gluten in your purse or wallet for easy reference when you're at the store or out to eat. With practice, you'll learn to recognize possible gluten pitfalls and know to avoid them.

What Foods Contain Gluten?