One of the most frustrating things when I became gluten free was not understanding that gluten can be hidden in many ingredients. Just to give you an idea here is a LIST from Celiac.com of the foods that MAY OR MAY NOT contain gluten, depending on how/where they’re sourced:
“The following items may or may not contain gluten depending on where and how they are made, and it is sometimes necessary to check with the manufacturer to find out:
Caramel Color1, 3
Caramel Flavoring1, 3
Dry Roasted Nuts4
food Starch1, 4
Food Starch Modified1, 4
Hydrolyzed Plant Protein4
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein4
Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate4
Modified Food Starch1, 4
Modified Starch1, 4
Soy Sauce Solids4
1) If this ingredient is made in North America it is likely to be gluten-free.
3) The problem with caramel color is it may or may not contain gluten depending on how it is manufactured. In the USA caramel color must conform with the FDA standard of identity from 21CFR CH.1. This statute says: the color additive caramel is the dark-brown liquid or solid material resulting from the carefully controlled heat treatment of the following food-grade carbohydrates: Dextrose (corn sugar), invert sugar, lactose (milk sugar), malt syrup (usually from barley malt), molasses (from cane), starch hydrolysates and fractions thereof (can include wheat), sucrose (cane or beet). Also, acids, alkalis and salts are listed as additives which may be employed to assist the caramelization process.
4) Can utilize a gluten-containing grain or by-product in the manufacturing process, or as an ingredient.
5) Most celiac organizations in the USA and Canada do not believe that wheat starch is safe for celiacs. In Europe, however, Codex Alimentarius Quality wheat starch is considered acceptable in the celiac diet by most doctors and celiac organizations. This is a higher quality of wheat starch than is generally available in the USA or Canada.
6) According to 21 C.F.R. S 101,22(a)(3): [t]he terns natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof. Whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.
7) Dextrin is an incompletely hydrolyzed starch. It is prepared by dry heating corn, waxy maize, waxy milo, potato, arrowroot, WHEAT, rice, tapioca, or sago starches, or by dry heating the starches after: (1) Treatment with safe and suitable alkalis, acids, or pH control agents and (2) drying the acid or alkali treated starch. (1) Therefore, unless you know the source, you must avoid dextrin.”
Just a little light reading for you 😉 So this just gives you can idea of all of the places gluten can be hiding. It’s super fun to try to figure out, isn’t it?
Four and a half years ago, foods were not labeled “gluten free” as readily as they are now, although some foods are still lacking. I would have to read through the ingredient list and if I found something from the “may/may not list” I would just put it back on the shelf because I didn’t want to risk making myself sick. Then I found GF Overflow, my go-to website when I need to figure out if something is gluten free. You can even search by category or brand. For example, you could search “BBQ sauce” if you’re trying to decide which brand to buy at the grocery store or you could search “Newman’s Own” if you’re at a picnic and you know what brand the host used.
I have even referred my non-gluten free friends and family to this website when they’re nice enough to prepare me something and want to make sure it’s safe for me to eat. They can search their ingredients to make sure what they’re buying is gluten free.
While it doesn’t list every gluten free food on the planet, it does have over 10,000 products in its database. In the event that I can’t find a specific brand/product here I just Google it alongside “gluten free” which can sometimes, but not always, answer my question if something is gluten free or not. Using GF Overflow is definitely a lot quicker and easier though! They also offer an app for iPhone and iPad for only $2.99. Personally, I don’t have it because I just open the website in Safari, but it got a 5/5 star review and the reviewers said the app is faster than Safari.
Also, it’s important to note that they use the manufacturer’s information to determine if a product is gluten free or not. With that being said, while GF Overflow tries to be as accurate as possible with this information, manufacturers can change ingredients at any time so it’s always best to double-check your labels. I will say that in the 4+ years I have been using this website I never ate anything listed that ended up not being gluten free. So, for me, it has been accurate.
This was not a sponsored post. This is just me sharing something I find super useful with the gluten free community in hopes it will help you too!
What is your favorite gluten free website?