The Basic Gluten-Free Diet

Is it Gluten Free? A Basic Diet Guide for Celiacs

Getting the gluten-free diet right is easy when you know the ground rules. Follow the guidelines below and you will be on your way to a happy, healthy gluten-free life.

This material is not intended to provide medical advice, which should be obtained directly from a physician.

YES

Foods made from grains (and grain-like plants) that do not contain harmful gluten, including:

Corn in all forms (corn flour, corn meal, grits, etc.).

Plain rice in all forms (white, brown, basmati, enriched rice, etc.).

Amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat (kasha), cassava, flax, millet, quinoa, sorghum soy, tapioca and teff.

Flours made from gluten-free grain, nuts, beans and coconut. Look for products labeled gluten-free to avoid cross-contamination.

Gluten-free ingredients:

Annatto, glucose syrup, lecithin, maltodextrin (even when it is made from wheat), oat gum, plain spices, silicon dioxide, starch, food starch and vinegar (only malt vinegar might contain gluten). Also citric, lactic and malic acids as well as sucrose, dextrose and lactose; and these baking products: arrowroot, cornstarch, guar and xanthan gums, tapioca flour or starch, potato starch flour and potato starch, vanilla.

The following foods:

Milk, butter, margarine, real cheese, plain yogurt, most ice cream without gluten-containing add-ins.

Vegetable oils, including canola.

Plain fruits, vegetables (fresh, frozen and canned), meat, seafood, potatoes, eggs, nuts, nut butters, beans and legumes.

Distilled vinegar is gluten free. (See malt vinegar under NO below).

Distilled alcoholic beverages are gluten free because distillation effectively removes gluten. They are not gluten free if gluten-containing ingredients are added after distillation, but this rarely happens.

Mono and diglycerides are fats and are gluten free.

Spices are gluten free. If there is no ingredient list on the container, it contains only the pure spice noted on the label.

NO

Wheat in all forms including spelt, kamut, triticale (a combination of wheat and rye), durum, einkorn, farina, semolina, cake flour, matzo (or matzah) and couscous.

Ingredients with “wheat” in the name including wheat starch, modified wheat starch, hydrolyzed wheat protein and pregelatinized wheat protein. Buckwheat, which is gluten free, is an exception.

Barley and malt, which is usually made from barley, malt syrup, malt extract, malt flavoring and malt vinegar.

Rye

Breaded or floured meat, poultry, seafood and vegetables. Also meat, poultry and vegetables when they have a sauce or marinade that contains gluten, such as soy and teriyaki sauces.

Licorice, imitation crab meat, beer, most is fermented from barley. (Specialty gluten-free beer is available from several companies.)

MAYBE

Wheat in all forms including spelt, kamut, triticale (a combination of wheat and rye), durum, einkorn, farina, semolina, cake flour, matzo (or matzah) and couscous. Wheat is found in many bread, cakes, cereals, cookies, crackers, pretzels, pasta, and pizza crusts, but it can turn up in other products, too. Read labels to be sure.

Most ingredients with “wheat” in the name including hydrolyzed wheat protein and pregelatinized wheat protein. Buckwheat, which is gluten free, is an exception.

Barley and malt, which is usually made from barley, including malt syrup, malt extract, malt flavoring and malt vinegar.

Rye, which is most often found in bread products. It is not typically used to make ingredients.

Breaded or floured meat, poultry, seafood and vegetables, when the breading is made with wheat. Also meat, poultry and vegetables when they have a sauce or marinade that contains gluten, such as soy and teriyaki sauces. Foods that are fried in the same oil as breaded products are not considered to be safe on the gluten free diet.

Licorice, which is made with wheat flour, and other candies that contain wheat or barley.

 

SPECIAL CASES

Caramel color is almost always made from corn, and most companies in North America use corn because it makes a better product. Malt syrup can be used but rarely is, so caramel color is almost guaranteed to be gluten free.

Hydrolyzed vegetable protein is a phrase that under federal regulation should not be used on a food label. Food processors have to identify the “vegetable.” So you might read “hydrolyzed wheat protein,” which would not be gluten free, or “hydrolyzed soy protein,” which is gluten free.

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