How To Spot Products That Contain Gluten
Cutting foods that contain gluten out of your diet sounds simple enough; you just check the ingredients list of everything you buy and don’t eat anything that says gluten, right? Unfortunately not, as anyone who has ever read a list of ingredients looking for that elusive word can tell you.
Gluten comes in many forms, and there are almost endless ways it can be described on an ingredients list. Sometimes the only real way to know if a product contains gluten is to look for the ‘gluten-free’ sign, or call up the manufacturer. To help you out, here are a few of the ways gluten can be described on a list of ingredients.
Wheat is the most common form of gluten
Looking out for foods that contain wheat is a good way to start eliminating gluten from your diet as this is the primary source. There are many words that mean wheat, and these include durum, bulgur, dinkel, kamut and spelt, although there are many more. Common wheat containing substances that you might find on a list of ingredients include semolina and couscous.
There are some substances that may or may not be derived from wheat, and sadly many manufacturers do not specify whether this is the case on their packaging. If you see substances such as starch, bran, hydrolyzed vegetable protein or dextrimaltose in a food product, avoid it unless you know for sure these are derived from a gluten-free source.
The word flour can mean many things
When you see the word flour on its own in a list of ingredients, it probably means wheat flour, or literally ‘ground wheat’ as this is the most common type of flour. If a different type of flour is used, this will usually be stated on the packaging. Safe forms of flour that don’t include gluten are rice flour, potato flour, buckwheat flour, chestnut flour and corn flour.
There are many ways that wheat flour can be described, but don’t be fooled, they all contain gluten. Some descriptions of wheat flour include plain flour, self-raising flour, stoneground flour, wheatgerm flour, malted wheatgrain flour and wholemeal four.
Other gluten containing substances
The two most common gluten containing substances besides wheat are barley and rye, so look out for these when you are checking out ingredients. There are a number of derivatives of barley that you might not realise contain gluten and these include caramel coloring and malt, which can be in the form of a flavoring or vinegar.
As you can see, there are countless words used to describe foods that contain gluten, and derivatives of these substances; we have only touched the surface here. Getting hold of an up to date list of all the terms that may mean gluten, or wheat, and keeping a copy to hand when you go shopping, and another pinned up on your kitchen wall, should help you to avoid foods with hidden gluten.