9 Items You Didn’t Know Contain Gluten

If you have celiac disease or find yourself to be gluten-intolerant (read Gluten: Is It Really So Bad?), start eliminating gluten from your diet immediately.  Though it can be easy to avoid the usual suspects of white breads and pastas, most gluten is not always obvious to detect because is very good at hiding itself. Just when you think you only have to avoid the bakery, be aware that even lip gloss has gluten.

If you are planning to go on a gluten-free diet, watch out for these 9 gluten-guilty culprits in your diet and life.

Gluten Guilty #1: Breads, Pasta & Cookies
Gluten is most commonly found in wheat-based processed carbohydrates we consume in our daily lives. Besides breads, pasta and cookies, this also includes couscous, flour tortillas, muffins, cakes, pastries and certain cereal. Cut these out of your diet and watch your energy level and health improve. In fact, a lot of people have lost weight just by eliminating these from their diet. What a bonus.

Gluten Guilty #2: Low Fat Dairy Products
Milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, soft cheese, mayonnaise and even low fat and no fat salad dressings all contain gluten.

Gluten Guilty #3: Deli Meats
Processed meat usually have gluten added as one of the preservatives. Everything from ham, salami, pepperoni to smoked turkey. Just when you thought a healthy sandwich lunch was a good idea, it may not be so. Sausages are also off limits. Usually stuffed with bread and other fillers, packaged and processed sausages contain high amounts of gluten. And while real crab meat is gluten-free, imitation crab meat is not.

Gluten Guilty #4: Canned Veggies
Since we are on the topic of sandwiches, canned vegetables and processed sauces that most of us slap onto our sandwiches like ketchup, mustard, pickles and horseradish are also gluten-guilty. Why? Because they are usually soaked in a malt-vinegar solution, and malt is made from barley.

Gluten Guilty #5: Beer
When it comes to alcohol, there is good news: not all is off the menu. It depends on the source and production process. Most distilled alcoholic beverages are generally safe and gluten-free like gin, vodka and whiskey. Wines and champagnes are made from grapes so they are also gluten-free. Other gluten safe liquors are sherry, port, brandy, cognac and triple sec because they are made from fruits. Unfortunately, beer is the odd lot. Made from hops and barley, beer carries a potent concentration of gluten. Ales and lagers must be avoided.

Gluten Guilty #6: Gum & Candy
Love chewing gum? It is exactly what you chew on that is bad for your immune system. The chewiness of sweet candy and gum is made from gluten. Always read the ingredients and look out for anything that has to do with wheat, rye, barley and even malt vinegar. Licorice, made primarily from wheat flour, is a big no-no.

Gluten Guilty #7: Stamps & Envelopes
Stop licking your stamps and envelopes! While stamps and envelopes are not food, many adhesives contain gluten. Afterall, glue is short for gluten…hello. And by putting your tongue on the sticky portion of stamps and envelopes, you will inevitable introduce gluten into your immune system. Do you remember a Seinfield episode where George Costanza’s fiancee died from licking their wedding invitation envelopes? Okay… you’re not going to die from gluten overdose but you get the point.

Gluten Guilty #8: Lip Gloss
Bummer…I love lip gloss. Every girl knows that lip gloss is inevitably sticky, and what makes lip gloss glossy and sticky is gluten. And like stamps and envelopes, once the substance is on our lips, it will inevitable make its way into our bodies.

Gluten Guilty #9: Soy sauce
Soy sauce has 4 main ingredients: wheat, fermented soy beans, salt and water. In some brands of soy sauce, wheat is listed as no.1. How weird is that? Whether you are eating in or eating out, resist reaching for the soy sauce bottle. I know this is impossible when dining at a Japanese or Chinese restaurant. So how? Well this is my take – consciously reducing your intake of soy sauce over time is better than none at all.

Now you know the 9 gluten-guilty items, don’t despair. These days, there are plenty of gluten-free alternatives like gluten-free beer, gluten-free milk, gluten-free bread, gluten-free pasta, gluten-free jams and many more. You just need to spend a little more time at the grocery store – reading labels.

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