Where Could Gluten Be Hiding?


Whether you have Celiac disease or an intolerance to gluten, the first thing to start with on a gluten-free diet is figuring out what you can and can’t eat. You probably know all the main options, like skipping your normal bread products, checking condiments, and being sure you avoid all forms of wheat. However, gluten can often be hiding in products you wouldn’t suspect, and the only way to know is by understanding what ingredients point to being gluten. Did you know that just one exposure to gluten can drive an inflammatory response for 3-6 months?! For those who are sensitive, it’s really important to know where the gluten is so you can avoid it. Let’s take a look at where gluten can be hiding in your diet.

Ingredients with Gluten

  • Hydrolyzed malt extract
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Phytosphingosine extract
  • Amino peptide complex
  • Secale cereale
  • Fermented grain extract
  • Hordeum distichon
  • Hordeum vulgare
  • Hydrolysate
  • Maltodextrin
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Modified food starch
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Hydrolyzed soy protein
  • Caramel color 

Be Careful of These 

So now you’ve turned to look at your items from the last store visit. As you read through the ingredients, you see a few familiar names, but now is the time to focus. Some of the names that are generally included in this somewhat hidden group are: Kamut, hydrolyzed wheat protein, durum, farro, rye bread, atta, and farina. If you have serious gluten sensitivity, then it is important that you be sure to not only stay away from these foods and their processed versions, but also be very careful about eating ingredients that can become tainted by the presence of gluten sometimes on the way to you, the consumer. For instance, while oats don’t naturally contain gluten, if not marked as gluten-free they could contain traces of gluten from being processed in the same facility as food items that do contain gluten.

Sauces, Soups, Seasoning and Sausage

Among the foods mentioned here, these end up being some of the biggest surprises. The gluten found in liquid foods such as spaghetti sauce, several varieties of creamy soups, and popular seasoning packets has usually been added as a thickening agent, but it’s inclusion in sausage is entirely filler. With a small amount of research, it should be a piece of cake (but don’t eat gluten-filled cake!) to find processed meats without gluten that can be enjoyed in very small doses. Many of these meats are clearly marked so that people who are interested in gluten free items can easily identify them.

More Foods to Avoid

When you’re first learning about the intricacies of the gluten-free diet and lifestyle, it probably seems like you’re going to have to get rid of an unbelievable amount of foods that you might enjoy. When you’re getting ready to make a major dietary change, the best thing you can do for yourself is to empower yourself with knowledge so that you can find success by fully experiencing the variety and nuances of food. The good news is that there are a lot of great ways to confront these issues by simply reading your labels and opting for fresh rather than pre-packaged foods. 


One of the main things that people neglect when looking at a gluten free diet is that the condiments they love can be loaded with gluten. In recent years, the spread of gluten-free has become enough of a fad that it’s become relatively common as a marketing point. Ketchup, mayonnaise, salad dressings, gravy, malt vinegar, marinades, and even soy sauces may contain gluten. You will need to get used to reading labels to look for any ingredients that might have gluten. Just be sure to buy the gluten-free certified versions of your favorite condiments, and you won’t have to worry about it. 


If you’re on the go or in a hurry in the morning, it can be pretty tempting to grab a flavored coffee for yourself at the gas station on your way to work, but the hidden gluten in those drinks can derail a strict program. Instant drinks, root beer, wine coolers and other convenience drinks of similar type tend to include gluten in their list of ingredients. While having these drinks is a fast way to satisfy some urges, they aren’t usually very healthy, and many of these types of drinks also tend to have a high level of acidity, or cause acidity in the gut. It’s always better to have fresh versions when you can.

Processed Meats

These types of ingredients usually find their way into many lists. Health professionals have been warning consumers about the dangers of processed foods for years, particularly with a close eye on the effects of processed meats. These kinds of foods are well known for their acidic nature, and tend to be behind a lot of heartburn around the world. These conditions are ripe for swelling and inflammation, which can make itself worse over time, so it should be no surprise that many of these packaged, coagulated meat products also contain a plant protein that a portion of the population has difficulty digesting.