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.
Foods made from grains (and grain-like plants) that do notcontain harmful gluten, including: Corn in all forms (corn flour, corn meal, grits,etc.). Rice in all forms (white, brown, basmati and enriched rice). Also amaranth, buckwheat (kasha), Montina, millet, quinoa, teff, sorghum and soy.
The following 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 and vegetable oils including canola. Plain fruits, vegetables, (fresh, frozen and canned), meat, seafood, eggs, nuts, beans and legumes and flours made from them.
Distilled vinegar is gluten free. (See malt vinegar under NO below).
Distilled alcoholic beverages are gluten free because distillation effectively removes gluten from wheat. They are not gluten free if gluten-containing ingredients are added after distillation, but this rarely, if ever, 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.
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.
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.)
Dextrin can be made from wheat, which would be noted on the label, and would not be gluten free.
Flavorings are usually gluten free, but in rare instances can contain wheat or barley. By law, wheat would have to be labeled. Barley is usually called malt flavoring. In extremely rare instances, neither barley nor malt is specified in a flavoring.
Modified food starch is gluten free, except when wheat is noted on the label, either as “modified wheat starch,” modified starch (wheat) or if the Contains statement at the end of the ingredients list includes wheat.
Oats used to be considered unsafe, but recent research has shown that a moderate amount of special pure oats is safe for most celiacs. Several companies produce oats specifically for the GF market. They are labeled gluten free.
Pharmaceuticals can contain gluten, although most are gluten free. Check with the pharmaceutical company, especially if you take the medication on a continuing basis.
Processed cheese (spray cheese, for example) may contain gluten. Real cheese is gluten free.
Seasonings and seasoning mixes could contain gluten. Wheat will be noted on the label as required by law.
Soy Sauce is usually fermented from wheat. However, some brands don’t include wheat and are gluten free. Read the label to be sure.
Caramel color is almost always made from corn, but it can be made from malt syrup. However, in more than 10 years, we have not been able to find a single instance of a caramel color produced this way. Companies in North America say they use corn. You can consider caramel color GF.
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.