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Natural Awakenings Space & Treasure Coast Florida

Where is Gluten Hiding?

Jul 01, 2014 01:15PM ● By Dr. Brian P. Walsh, Chiropractic Physician

You’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or decided that you want to eliminate gluten from you diet – so how do you make that a reality without confusion and driving yourself crazy? The good news is that there are tons of resources on the web and in print that were not available when my wife and I started the gluten-free journey almost 20 years ago. A good place to start is and   These resources will educate about the common and hidden sources of gluten as well as ideas for transitioning with great recipe ideas.

This article will give a brief overview of both obvious and hidden sources of gluten, but the bottom line is that you must read EVERY label and familiarize yourself with the “gluten-free vocabulary” to avoid dietary mishap.

A simple acronym to remember the primary gluten containing grains is BROW – Barley (includes malt), Rye, Oats, and Wheat. Wheat varieties include triticale, spelt, kamut, farro and durum and products like bulgar and semolina. Whenever you see these words in an ingredient list then gluten is present. While oats do not technically contain gluten, the majority is processed in the same plants that produce wheat and cross contamination occurs. So unless it says gluten-free oats, these should be avoided. The following categories of foods and other commonly used items are products that may contain gluten and are to be scrutinized closely:

Milk Products: sour cream, processed cheese products, non-dairy creamers, yogurt, malted drinks

Meats: some meat patties with additives, canned meat, some sausages, processed cold cuts, soy protein meat substitutes, chili

Breads/Grains: - packaged rice mixes like rice pilafs, cornbreads

Fats and Oil: salad dressings, mayonnaise

Fruits: pie fillings, thickened or prepared fruit, and fruit fillings

Vegetables: vegetables with sauces, commercially prepared or seasoned vegetables, canned baked beans, pickles

Beverages: cocoa mixes, root beer, chocolate drinks, nutritional supplements, beverage mixes, beer and some alcohols

Snacks and Desserts: custards, puddings, ice cream, sherbets, candies, coated popcorn and chips, chewing gum

Soups: commercially prepared soups, canned soups, soup mixes, broths, bouillon cubes

Condiments: flavoring syrups, mayonnaise, horseradish, salad dressings, tomato sauces, meat sauces, mustard, taco sauce, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, chip dips

Seasonings: curry powder, seasoning mixes, meat extracts

Cosmetics: many lip sticks, foundations, shampoos, conditioners, etc. contain wheat and/or gluten derivatives. Unfortunately manufacturers are not required to list gluten in the ingredients so the best approach is to buy cosmetics that are certified gluten-free.

Medicine: gluten is used as a binder in some meds, but is not always listed on the label.  To be safe, ask the pharmacist or go to

The bottom line is that you must read EVERY label and familiarize yourself with the “gluten-free vocabulary” to avoid dietary mishap.

Other sources of hidden gluten: malt flavoring, dextrin (a starch sometimes derived from wheat), hydrolyzed vegetable protein or textured vegetable protein, brewer’s yeast, seitan (meat substitute derived from wheat gluten), imitation bacon bits and imitation seafood.

When it comes to eating out, restaurants are starting to offer gluten-free menu selections, but when in doubt ask the server for an ingredients list to make sure. The most common source of hidden gluten containing foods when eating out are sauces, gravies, salad dressings, and coatings on fish, chicken, meats, fries, etc.

So the bottom line is you must familiarize yourself with the hidden sources of gluten, read every label and don’t be afraid to ask what’s in your food when in the grocery store or local restaurant. Apps are now available for smart phones that can help identify gluten-free restaurants and scan products to see if they contain gluten. To be on the safe side, look for a gluten-free label or certification seal on packaged products.

Dr. Walsh is the owner of CARE Chiropractic & Wellness Center. Call CARE at 321-728-1387 to schedule a Nutrition Health Analysis to see how they can help you determine your gluten sensitivity. CARE Chiropractic & Wellness Center, is located at 1938 Dairy Road in West Melbourne; Visit for more information.