It’s a sticky subject – surprising even – but you’ll soon learn that the following 5 foods are NOT gluten free. Many of you with fibromyalgia and health challenges seek healthier food choices. But, even if you’re a seasoned gluten investigator, these foods may have shot under your gluten detecting radar.
Because they’re not in the categories of foods that you may expect.
You probably already know that bread, bagels, pasta, crackers, cereal, cakes, cookies, pies, pastries, and other baked items contain gluten – as they include flour and gluten-containing grains. They’re known to cause digestive troubles, inflammation, foggy thinking, (and more!) for those with celiac, food intolerances, and food sensitivities. It’s important to know where gluten hides. You might you might think you know where most gluten sources can be found.
But seriously … did you know about these?
1) Red licorice – Wait, my 2nd favorite movie snack has gluten? How can that be? Twizzlers and Red Vines are simply made from corn syrup, sugar, more sugar, a bit more sugar, red dye #40, and something sticky to hold ‘em together, right? Right! Wheat flour is very sticky (and sweet). That’s why wheat flour is listed as the second ingredient. Lots of candy that you may not suspect contains gluten. Look for wheat flour and other gluten-containing ingredients in Jolly Rancher Bites, Kit Kats, Crunch bars, Twix, Whoppers, some chocolate, candy corn, seasonal shaped Reese’s and more.
2) French fries – Where does gluten lurk amongst the potatoes and corn oil? If the restaurant deep fries anything seasoned or breaded, then your French fries are thwarted by cross contamination. As a double whammy, many fast food fries today are dipped in all sorts of batters with questionable ingredients and seasonings that also contain gluten. Here’s another snack truth; flavored chips are also gluten bombs. Their “magical” seasonings sabotage your gluten free attempts every time.
3) Frozen / packaged veggies (with “sauce”) – Whenever I see packaged foods bragging about their tasty sauces I always think of some chemical sludge dyed to an appropriate hue. The fact that it may smell (or even taste) good doesn’t mean there’s anything real in there. Packaged sauces need thickeners and preservatives to stay creamy looking/feeling, so it’s common practice to use wheat flours, grain starches, maltodextrin, or other gluten-containing additives.
4) Canned soups – For the very same reason, canned soups often use artificial thickeners, food starches, and additives. Real soups at home gain that thickened effect from a wealth of veggies, natural ingredients, and from cooking (and re-heating), the soup over time. Want it fast? You can still find ready-to-serve soups that are made with quality ingredients. Here’s my favorite Amy’s Brand Organic Chunky Vegetable Soup.
5) Medications – If this surprises you, it’s time to really get out your cheaters-on-a-chain and read the fine print. (Sometimes, the very, very, very, very fine print.) Many medications use gluten as a binder to hold ingredients together — and, they may not let you know. In fact, generic medications don’t follow the same guidelines for reporting fillers as do brand name medications. Read this How to Protect Yourself from Hidden Gluten in Medications article to learn more. It points out that to truly be sure, contact the manufacturer. Of course, some supplement manufacturers use gluten-containing fillers, starches, and binding agents, too. However, reputable supplement companies will list the possible inclusion of gluten on the label. As always, buy the highest quality supplements that fit within your budget.
In the search to improve your health, here are a few additional tips:
While most of our foods that contain gluten also contain wheat, keep in mind that wheat free does not necessarily mean gluten free. A wheat free product may contain other gluten-ey grains including barley, rye, and spelt.
Always read the label.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, gluten is a sticky substance. Think Gluten: Think Glue. It binds things together which is why it can be found in so many packaged products. Let me repeat that – PACKAGED products. Wanna make it easy on yourself?
Don’t choose foods
that have the gluten removed.
Do choose foods
that never had gluten in the first place.
Foods such as; fresh veggies and fruits, unprocessed meats and eggs, natural nuts, seeds, and oils.
Of course, there are MANY more items to add to the list above. But then the title would be These 50 foods Have Gluten! I simply chose a handful of items that seem to surprise people the most.
Here are a few others that may raise an eyebrow or two:
Pickles, hot dogs, sausages, meatballs, salami, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, bottled salad dressings, packaged lunch meats, deli meats, boullion cubes, sushi, rotisserie chicken, veggie burgers, seasoning mixes, non-dairy creamers/coffee mixes/hot chocolate mixes, dry roasted nuts, hair and skin care products (yes, we absorb/drink through our skin, too), and even communion wafers, etc.
I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s a good idea to keep this link from Celiac.com handy. Here you can find a comprehensive Unsafe Gluten Free Food List of foods and ingredients to avoid:
Have you been surprised by this list or others? What items surprised you the most? Please share your personal comments below!