The Gluten Free lifestyle Part 2: Hidden Sources of Gluten

It’s easy to recognize gluten in food like breads, pastas and pastries, but it can be a bit harder to find the hidden sources of gluten in other products and foods. Below is a list of the hidden sources of Gluten.

These ingredients and additives can include gluten, but sources must be carefully scrutinized. For example, modified food starch from corn is considered gluten-free, so long as no wheat starch is included. Apple cider vinegar is acceptable, but distilled vinegars contain gluten. If you’re unsure, check the labels or contact the manufacturer for detailed production information.

  • Binders
  • Blue cheese
  • Brown rice syrup (if barley malt enzyme is used)
  • Buckwheat flour and soba noodles (if combined with wheat)
  • Caramel coloring (made from barley malt enzymes)
  • Coatings
  • Colorings
  • Dextrins
  • Dispersing agents (i.e., cellulose, citric acid)
  • Emulsifiers
  • Excipients (added to prescription medications to achieve desired consistency)
  • Extracts (in grain alcohol)
  • Fillers
  • Flavorings (in grain alcohol)
  • Flours, breads, cereals, crackers, pasta, sauces and condiments made with the primary gluten source grains or their derivatives
  • Grain alcohol (beer, ale, rye, scotch, bourbon, grain vodka)
  • Homeopathic remedies
  • Hydrolyzed protein, hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP), hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
  • Malt or malt flavoring (barley malt)
  • Modified starch, modified food starch (when derived from wheat)
  • Mono-and diglycerides (made using a wheat-starch carrier)
  • Oils (wheat germ oil and any oil with gluten additives)
  • Preservatives
  • Soy sauce (when fermented using wheat)
  • Spices (if contain anti-caking ingredients)
  • Starch (made from primary gluten source grains)
  • Vegetable gum (when made from oats)
  • Vegetable protein
  • Vinegars (distilled clear and white or with a mash starter)
  • Vitamin E oil



1. Scrambled Eggs: Some restaurants add pancake batter to their scrambled eggs to make them fluffier.
2. Fish/Seafood: Sometimes fish and seafood is dusted with flour to keep it from sticking to a cooking surface.
3. Vegetables: They could be steamed in the same water that is used to prepare/reheat pasta.
4. Soups: The soup base, or roux, is often made from a flour base.
5. Potato chips and tortilla chips: These are often contaminated with gluten when they are prepared in a fryer that is used to fry other breaded and battered foods.
6. French fries: Can be coated with a flour mixture, and just like chips, they some often contaminated with gluten when they are fried in a fryer that is used to fry other breaded and battered foods.
7. Crab: Make sure to eat real crab!! Real crab is gluten-free, imitation crab often is not.
8. Sauces: Oftentimes, the base of sauces are made with a roué, which uses flour.  Other sauces, like soy sauce and teriyaki sauce typically contained fermented wheat.
9. Burgers/Meatballs/Meatloaf: Breadcrumbs are often added to burgers, meatballs, and meatloaf.
10. Mashed potatoes: Flour is sometimes added to mashed potatoes as a thickening agent.
11. Vegan meat substitutes: Vegan meats products are often made from wheat.
Make sure that you talk with the restaurant manager to find gluten-free items on the menu before ordering. Remember to tell the manager or chef that both the meal AND its preparation must be gluten-free.


  • Foods that may contain soy sauce, such as in an Asian restaurant. Soy sauce contains wheat unless you purchase a wheat free version. You’re not likely to find that in a restaurant.
  • Sauces of all types, including salad dressings and condiments, marinades, gravies
  • French fries are often dusted in flour to give them more crunch. So even if they are cooked in fresh oil they are still not safe to eat.
  • Pilafs often contain rice shaped pasta, called orzo.
  • Spice mixtures may use wheat as an anti-caking agent, filler, or thickening agent.
  • Foods that come prepared may have gluten hidden in a filler or thickener, or a coating or sauce. In restaurants these foods are very common.
  • Processed cereals often contain barley malt.
  • Ice cream may have flour as an anti-crystallizing agent.
  • Beverages such as rice or soy may have barley malt or malt enzymes may have been used in manufacture.
  • Beer, unless it’s marked gluten free.
  • Imitation fish, bacon, lunch meats, self-basting poultry
  • Stuffings
  • Communion wafers



We hope you found this list helpful in your Gluten Free lifestyle.

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