Does This Food Contain Gluten?

People new to a gluten-free diet will often ask if a certain food contains gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly other grains. Hence it is found in many processed foods derived from those ingredients.

The major gluten containing foods are bread, pasta, pastry, and anything made from flour.

What is not as obvious is the "hidden gluten" found in other foods. Below, we ask the question of whether certain "not-so-obvious" foods contain gluten or not.

Keep in mind that the following is only general information and that there are always exceptions to the rule. Gluten can often in foods that normally would not contain gluten due to cross contamination with cooking utensils and surface and even in the air. That is why in order to be certified as gluten-free, it needs to be made in a facility that does not also make gluten containing products.

Whether a product contains gluten or not depends on the brand and how it was made. Some brands add gluten-containing binders and ingredient in otherwise perfectly fine gluten-free foods.

For those who are extremely gluten-sensitive, keep in mind that any of these food can contain trace amounts of gluten even if they generally would not. For example, a very gluten sensitive person may react to a chicken (which is gluten free) if it was grilled on the same grill that previously heat up an hamburger bun. There can be trace amounts of gluten in the sticky tabs of envelops and even hair spray that some very sensitive individuals can react to.

When in doubt, if a product is not specifically labelled as gluten free, assume that it contains gluten.

Does Soy Sauces Contain Gluten?

Yes, you betcha soy contains gluten. In fact, they should call it "wheat sauces" since the common brands often contain more wheat that soy in it.

The higher-quality "soy sauce" are also known as tamari, which has a better chance of being gluten-free than your typical soy sauce.

Nevertheless, the only soy sauces or tarmari sauces that do not contain gluten are the ones specifically labelled as "gluten-free".

Does Cornstarch Contain Gluten?

Pure cornstarch is made from corn and hence does not specifically contain gluten. But certain commercial brands may have trace amounts from cross-contamination or from other ingredients in the product. [reference]

However, some people who are sensitive to gluten may also be sensitive to corn.

Does Vinegar Contain Gluten?

Sometimes. According to TheKitchn.com writes ...

"Most distilled vinegars will be gluten-free; even if they started as grain spirits, any gluten will have been removed in the distilling process. But some vinegars (malt vinegar, some apple cider vinegars, as well as some specialty Asian vinegars) will still have wheat proteins remaining."

Does Buckwheat Contain Gluten?

Typically no gluten in buckwheat, despite its name.

Does wheat grass contain gluten?

This one is controversial. There are medical professionals that advice gluten-sensitive people not be eating wheat grass.

Pure Wheat grass (the grass itself and not its seed) is technically gluten free. But the seed of the wheat grass does contain gluten. Similarly, barley grass (just the grass) is gluten-free, while barley the grain does contain gluten. Grains, by definition, are the seeds of the grass. [reference]

However, if product contains an ingredient of wheatgrass and is not labelled gluten-free, you need to skip it. Because you don't know if whether or how well they have separated the gluten containing seed. Wheat grass is kind of like an immature wheat. And some people's immune system may still react to that protein.

Evolution of nature had make the seeds more indigestible so that the seeds of the plants can remain intact in order to propagate the species of the plant.

Does rice mixes contain gluten?

Yes, they can. Although rice naturally is gluten free, rice mixes contain whole bunch of ingredients some of which may contain gluten.

Diabetes.org list rice mixes and other surprising products as containing gluten. For example, it lists lunch meats, hot dogs, and salad dressing as containing gluten.

Does broth contain gluten?

Yes sometimes, commercial canned broths can sometimes contain gluten. One way to have gluten free broth is to make the broth yourself at home using gluten-free real food.

Similarly, bouillon cubes and soups and soup broths all can contain gluten.

Does Fried Foods Contain Gluten?

Yes, they typically do. First of all, the fried foods can be breaded. And second of all, it could be fried in the same vat that had fried some gluten containing food.

Some restaurants have gluten-free fries from their gluten free menu where they use dedicated fryer for gluten-free french fries.

Does Ice Cream and Gelato Contain Gluten?

Non-flavored ice cream and gelato made in the traditional way should not contain gluten. Because they are primarily dairy products made from cream and milk. However, some people who are sensitive to gluten may also be sensitive to dairy, since dairy is a possible gluten cross-reactive food in some people.

With that said, some ice cream and gelato do contain gluten. Certain toppings and flavors contain gluten. For example, the "cookies and cream" and the "cookie dough" flavors typically contain gluten. The safer choice are the standard vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate.

Keep in mind that if your ice cream vendor uses the same scoop to scoop your vanilla that had previously scooped "cookies and cream", then you just got gluten in your vanilla ice cream.

Nevertheless, certain brands may contain gluten regardless of flavor. Learn more about which brands may or may not contain gluten at About.com and LiveStrong.com.


Does Salad Dressing Contain Gluten?

Sure, commercial salad dressing does contain gluten, unless specifically said otherwise. The best way to dress your salad is to use extra virgin olive oil. That is gluten free, and healthy too.

What about balsamic vinegar? If it is pure balsamic vinegar without any additive or caramel, then it is usually fine. Malt vinegar is not. Vinegar made from gluten-containing grains is a bit more controversial. Some say that that distillation and fermentation renders the gluten harmless. [reference]

Does Gravy Contain Gluten?

Yes, some gravy use thickeners that contain gluten.

Does tabouli contain gluten?

Yes, tabouli traditionally is made with bulgur which is a gluten-containing grain. If you substitute it with quinoa then you can make you own version of gluten-free tabbouleh.

Does Beer Contain Gluten?

Please say it isn't so. But unfortunately, beer does contain gluten. Page 110 of Digestive Health with Real Food says ...

"Beer should already be out of the picture because of its gluten."

So you can drink wine instead. Wine is gluten free, with the rare exception when they flour paste in the butt joints of the barrels that are used to hold the wine. But the risk of risk of gluten contamination is extremely small and rare for wine.[reference and here]

Does Chili Contain Gluten?

Chili sometimes and mostly can be gluten free, but not always.

The GlutenFreeBar.com gave Wendy's chili a gluten free confidence score of 7/10 where 10 being gluten-free.

WikiAnswers says "it depends". If it came from a can, it may contain gluten-containing ingredients.

Does Tabbouleh Contain Gluten?

Yes, it is traditionally made from bulgur, which is a gluten containing grain. Although there are special gluten-free tabbbouleh made without gluten grains (such as quinoa).

Just for your information, all of the following grains contain gluten:

bulgur

couscous

durum

einkorn

emmer

farro

kamut

semolina

spelt

triticale

and triticum

Does Hummus contain Gluten?

Generally, hummus is naturally gluten-free since it uses all non-gluten ingredients. But you never know, so safer to ask.

Does Falafel Contain Gluten?

Yes, most often it does. It is deep fried ball of patty consisting mainly of chickpea and other ingredients. It is not the chickpea that is the problem. But rather more of the various ingredients that commercial makers put in it.

That being said, you can make gluten-free falafel on your own using only gluten-free ingredients.

Does Injera contain gluten?

It depends on how it is made.

Injera is a is a sourdough-risen flatbread common in Ethiopia. It has a unique, slightly spongy texture and is traditionally made from teff, which is a gluten-free grain. However, many commercial restaurant make injera with both teff and wheat flour and hence is NOT gluten-free, unless it is specifically specified as gluten free and made from gluten free ingredients.

Does Tater Tots Contain Gluten?

Again, most often it does, unless it otherwise says that it is gluten free. There are some that are gluten-free that are store bought. One gluten-free tater tots is found in this list, but this is an old list and ingredients may have changed. So always check with the manufacturer.

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Steven Montagna profile image

Steven Montagna 2 years ago from Santa Clarita, California

This is an awesome article. I learned a lot. Thank you!

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