8 Surprising places where Gluten is hiding!
By Muneerah Shiraz, Certified Nutritional Practitioner
Gluten free products are all the rage, companies are taking great pride in marketing the GF (Gluten Free) stamp on their products and health experts are increasingly touting the benefits of avoiding gluten. But what about the products that do not have the stamp and are generally believed to be ‘gluten free’?
No, I am not referring to cross contamination during the production process (though that is one way to get gluten on an otherwise gluten free product). But rather the gluten that is hiding in unexpected places and is often disclosed on food labels under different names?
If you have Celiac disease or Gluten intolerance you should be aware of these 8 products where gluten may be hiding...
- Flavoured Potato Chips - whilst potatoes are gluten free flavoured potato chips often contain gluten- where you ask? Look for the ingredient ‘Malted Barley Flour’ or malted anything- yup that’s Gluten!
- Soy sauce – Yes regular Soy Sauce contains wheat! Use wheat free Tamari instead, almost the same flavour. When ordering food at restaurants be sure to ask if the sauces being used are also GF.
- Cereal - look out for cereals that look like they are gluten free but are not, e.g., Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, because it is made with rice it should be gluten free but if you look at the ingredients it contains Malt! Better still ditch these store-bought cereals for home made oatmeal or granola.
- Bouillon cubes - Some bouillon cubes contain ‘hydrolyzed wheat gluten protein’. A healthy alternative is to make your own stock once a month and freeze it in small portions e.g., an ice cube tray.
- Granola Bars - My homemade granola bar is made with just nuts and seeds but that is not the case for many commercial products which contain Barley (aka gluten).
- Brown Rice Syrup - this is used in cereals, energy bars, baked goods, puddings etc. Whilst Brown-rice is gluten free it is the enzymes that it is treated with which may be from Barley. The challenge here is that the nutrition label does not specify if Barley was used or not for the enzymes so if you see a product with Brown Rice Syrup be sure to check if it has the GF stamp as that is the only way to verify.
- Meatballs - Whilst I have never found a need to add breadcrumbs or for that matter any flour to my meatballs most commercial products do contain wheat as a binder. Ditch the frozen meatballs for the easy to make homemade variety.
- Canned soups – Many canned soups contain wheat-based thickeners, not to mention a tonne of preservatives. Try to buy fresh soups from the refrigerated aisle of the grocery store or better yet make a big batch at home and freeze in small portions.
Some other names under which Gluten is often hiding: Hydrolysate, Natural flavouring, Hydrolyzed soy protein, Hydrolyzed vegetable protein, Hydrolyzed plant protein, caramel colour, yeast extract, modified food starch, fermented grain extract, maltodextrin and glucose syrup.
There are products on the market that are labelled GF but contain gluten in the form of hydrolyzed wheat protein, fermented barley etc. so always do your own research by reading the ingredients label.