Individuals diagnosed with celiac disease recognize they must avoid gluten. That’s become easier over the last couple decades as manufacturers have recognized the growing number of consumers on gluten-free diets. However, the Celiac Disease Foundation notes that various foods may contain gluten in hidden or unexpected ways. That underscores how important it is that individuals with celiac disease read labels prior to purchasing foods and beverages for the first time. In the meantime, such individuals can keep this list of potential hidden sources of gluten in mind as they shop for groceries or dine out.
Energy bars/granola bars: The CDF recommends shoppers read the label prior to purchasing energy bars and granola bars, as many contain wheat and/or oats, which are not gluten-free.
French fries: Cross-contamination from fryers can make otherwise safe french fries risky, so individuals with celiac disease may want to stick to gluten-free fries prepared at home.
Potato chips: Read the label to ensure chips are not made with seasonings that might contain malt vinegar or wheat starch.
Processed lunch meats
Candy and candy bars
Soups: The CDF notes that cream-based soups typically contain flour as a thickener. Many soups also contain barley.
Multi-grain or ‘artisan’ tortilla chips or tortillas: The CDF warns that these products may contain a wheat-based ingredient.
Salad dressings and marinades: Malt vinegar, soy sauce and flour is often used to create salad dressings and marinades.
Eggs: Diner fans should know that some diners use pancake batter when cooking scrambled eggs or omelets. But the CDF notes that eggs are naturally gluten-free, so diners can request that their eggs be prepared without additives.
Beers/malt beverages: The celiac advocacy organization Beyond Celiac notes that beers labeled ‘gluten-removed’ are not gluten-free and should be avoided by individuals with celiac. In addition, the CDF warns that beers, ales, lagers, and malt beverages made from gluten-containing grains are not distilled and should be avoided. Only beers labeled ‘gluten-free’ are safe to drink for people with celiac disease.
Individuals with celiac disease must remain vigilant when buying foods and beverages. Many items are hidden sources of gluten that could put celiac patients’ health in jeopardy if consumed.