There’s Gluten in what?!


So you’ve emptied your home of the obvious gluten culprits like bread, pasta, cereal, pizza, and bagels, right? You’re ready, right?! You’ve got this, right?! Well … almost. There are a few sneaky sources still holding onto a gluten risk for you to be aware of. Here are some key ones you’ll want to know about:


Some pickling processes include malt vinegar which may contain gluten.


Labeling gluten-containing ingredients in medication aren’t legally required, and it’s often the inactive ingredients (binders and fillers) that can be a potential source or even cross-contamination. When reading labels, pay extra attention to any starches, as manufacturers don’t have to identify the source of the starch. If by chance wheat starch is identified, then you may want to discuss this with your doctor to see if they would recommend an alternative medication for you.

Other words to look out for are pregelatinized starch, sodium starch glycolate, dextrin, and dextrate. If in doubt, ask your pharmacist to call the manufacturer or call yourself to con rm if the medication is safe for you. It’s important to always consult all of your doctors, reminding them gently that you have celiac, or a non-celiac gluten sensitivity to ensure it is top of mind for them as they prescribe your medications. This includes your dentist and any other specialists who may use products during their visit with you.

Also, let your pharmacy know. After all, they are the ones filling your prescriptions and may know the products’ ingredients more than the prescribing doctor, and have them put it on your file. If you can, try to always ll your prescriptions at the same pharmacy and build a relationship with them.

Lastly, be sure to inform your insurance company. As some generic versions of medication may contain gluten while its name brand version does not (or vice versa), letting your insurance company know of your gluten-free needs could help with getting them to approve brand-name medication over generic. It’s not a guarantee, but it’s worth a try, rather than asking after the fact.

Blue Cheese

In some cases, bread mold is used to make the famous blue veins of this cheese favourite. Although the potential gluten they contain is a tiny amount, typically below the 20 parts per million, you may still want to carefully read the labels and select cheeses from a trusted source you have a relationship with.

Hot chocolate

Often those handy prepackaged cocoa mixes hold more than just cocoa. Some use wheat as a filler, but also, they may be processed on equipment that is exposed to wheat products and encounter cross- contamination.


Some marshmallows contain a modi ed food starch which may contain gluten. Read your labels carefully on this one. Thankfully most marshmallows found on shelves do not, but you want to make sure you pick- up the right ones, or keep this in mind when ordering treats from a café or bakery.

Vitamins Supplements

Much like medications, gluten may appear in some supplements as a binding agent.

Shampoo and Beauty Products

Although you are not eating cosmetics, even a small amount of gluten in a lip balm, shampoo, hairspray, or moisturizer could cause a problem. Think about how often you bite or lick your lips, get shampoo in your mouth or eyes, or put your hands in your mouth. Eek! Hydrolyzed gluten is used within beauty products to make emulsifiers and stabilizers.

The National Institute of Health Sciences in Japan collected data from 2009–2013 and found 1900 patients who reported allergic reactions after using a soap containing hydrolyzed wheat protein. Other studies have identified asthma in hairdressers exposed to hydrolyzed wheat protein as well.


Some vinegars, such as malt vinegar, some apple cider vinegars, as well as some specialty Asian vinegars, will still have wheat proteins remaining. Labels should be carefully consulted when choosing a vinegar.

French fries, and other fried foods

Deep fryers typically reach temperatures up to 204 C / 400 F, not nearly hot enough to denature the gluten protein which would require temperatures over 316 C / 600F. Gluten proteins are extremely resilient and can’t be broken down easily with temperature or time. If some breads are cooked at 260 C / 500 F for 10−15 minutes (pizza), and the gluten remains intact, imagine how stable they would remain in a fryer with temperatures lower than that.

Items listed as “Wheat-Free”

Gluten can also come from cross-contamination and other grains such as Spelt, barley, and rye. So wheat- free doesn’t mean gluten-free.

Soy Sauce

For some brands, wheat is a key part of the manufacturing process for soy sauce, making the sauce problematic for people with a gluten sensitivity.

Restaurant Omelette

Gluten in eggs? Yup! Some restaurants use pancake mix in their omelettes as a ller and to make them extra uffy. Be sure to ask your server when ordering to check with their chef.

Some sneaky terms you may want to keep an eye out for on your labels are: wheat germ, wheat germ oil, hydrolyzed wheat protein, vegetable protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, Avena Sativa (oats), Triticum aestivum (another name for wheat), Secale cereal (rye), stearyl dimonium hydroxypropyl, laurdimonium hydroxypropyl, colloidal oatmeal, dextrin palmitate, Vitamin E (Frequently derived from wheat), and Beta glucan.

While the absence of these ingredient names doesn’t necessarily mean the product is gluten- free, avoiding them is a great step towards gluten freedom.

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