Finding Hidden Gluten in Your Foods

Written By: Elizabeth Daeninck, MS, RD

Title: Registered Dietitian

Alumni: Colorado State University

Last Updated on:

Following a gluten-free diet can be challenging at the best of times, and successfully avoiding gluten requires a bit of detective work. It may not be obvious when reading a food label that a particular food contains gluten. Below is a list of the many food ingredients and additives that may contain hidden gluten. If you are gluten intolerant, it is important to verify specific foods to ensure that they do not contain hidden gluten.

Pizza on Table

Hidden Gluten in Foods

  • Baking Powder
  • Binders
  • Blue Cheese
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Caramel colorings or flavorings
  • Cereal fillers, protein or starch
  • Citric Acid
  • Coatings
  • Colorings
  • Corn Starch
  • Curry Powder
  • Dextrins
  • Dispersing Agents
  • Emulsifiers
  • Excipients (in prescription medications, for consistency)
  • Extracts (in grain alcohol)
  • Fillers
  • Flavorings (in grain alcohol)
  • Flours made from wheat, barley, oats, and rye
  • Grain alcohol (beer, ale, rye, scotch, bourbon, grain vodka)
  • Gum base
  • Homeopathic remedies
  • Hydrolyzed protein, Hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP), Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
  • Malt or Malt Flavoring (barley malt, malt vinegar)
  • Maltodextrin
  • Modified starch, Modified food starch (made from wheat)
  • Mono- and di-glycerides (made using a wheat starch carrier)
  • Natural flavorings
  • Oils (wheat germ oil and others with gluten additives)
  • Preservatives
  • Soy sauce (when fermented with wheat)
  • Spices (if anti-caking agent used)
  • Starch (modified food starch, edible starch)
  • Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
  • Vegetable gum
  • Vegetable protein or starch
  • Vinegars (white, or malt)Vital wheat gluten (common in soy products)
  • Vitamin E oil

Source: Going Gluten Free Workshop by Lisa Lanzano, MS, RD, Essential Nutrition

Gluten at a Glance

As is obvious from the list above, it is difficult to know for sure whether a food contains gluten by simply looking over its label. If you are in doubt, it is best to call the food company to ensure that you are not getting any hidden gluten in your diet. It is also wise to look for foods that actually state on their food label that they are gluten-free. Although there are gluten-free alternatives available for most of the ingredients listed above, if you don’t make the effort to check, you may be consuming hidden gluten.

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