Gluten-Free Diet FAQs
From Gluten-Free Trading Company
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and some related grains. Gluten makes baked goods stretchy and flaky (croissants and puff pastry are made with high-gluten flour).
Gluten is not the same thing as starch. If you took a pound of wheat flour and mixed with water to make a thick dough, in an hour or two you could gradually wash away the starch under a gentle trickle of running water. You would be left with about 2 ounces of a rubbery substance: that's the gluten!
Which grains and starches are safe for people with celiac disease?
Definitely NOT Safe: Barley, bulgur, durum, emmer, graham, kamut, rye, spelt (dinkle, einkorn), semolina, triticale (mir), wheat (all varieties).
Generally Regarded As Safe: Arrowroot, amaranth, buckwheat, corn (maize), hominy, millet, potato, quinoa, rice, milo, Montina, sago, sesame, sorghum, soy, sweet potato, tapioca (cassava, manioc), taro, teff, wild rice, yam.
Possibly Safe Depending on the Source: Oats, de-glutenized wheat starch.
Always make sure the grains and starches you buy come from clean, uncontaminated sources!
What Are Some Easily Overlooked Sources of Gluten?
Ordinary baked goods such as bread, rolls, cookies, crackers, and pizza crusts are fairly obvious sources of gluten. Ingredients derived from wheat and barley are also used in many other foods, including various products that do not have starchy textures. Here are some foods and ingredients that might contain gluten:
- Barley Malt, also known as Malt Flavoring (often found in breakfast cereals such as Rice Krispies).
- Candy (some types contain wheat flour or cookie bits).
- Caramel Coloring.
- Chicken Stock and Vegetable Broth (many brands contain flavorings derived from wheat).
- Communion Wafers.
- Couscous (Moroccan pasta, sometimes mixed into salad bar items).
- Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Texturized Vegetable Protein (sometimes used in processed meats and meat substitutes; the "vegetable" might be wheat).
- Ice Cream that contains mix-ins such as cookie bits.
- Imitation Crab, Surimi (usually contains wheat starch; frequently used in mixed seafood items in restaurants).
- Incomplete/Mistranslated Labels. These are especially common on products packaged by small food service operators and on products imported from Asia & Mexico. If list seems too short, maybe it is!
- Invert Syrup.
- Licorice Candy (usually contains wheat flour).
- Maltodextrin (usually made from corn but sometimes derived from wheat, especially on products imported from Europe).
- Modified Food Starch (usually made from corn, potato or tapioca but sometimes made from wheat). Frequently used in processed foods.
- MSG (monosodium glutamate) flavor enhancer.
- Natural Flavoring (some are made from wheat or barley).
- Non-Food Items: Cosmetics, hair care products, paste sticks, gummed envelopes.
- Orzo (rice-shaped pasta).
- Rice-A-Roni (the ‘Roni is macaroni).
- Rice Syrup (sometimes extracted using barley enzymes).
- Seasoning and spice blends (some contain wheat starch or wheat derivatives).
- Seitan (vegetarian meat substitute).
- Soy Sauce (most brands contain wheat) Extensively used in Oriental cooking and sometimes in other cuisine such as Mexican fajitas. If it is labeled as "tamari" it is usually wheat-free. If it is labeled as "shoyu" it definitely contains wheat.
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