The information in our ingredients index will help you read a food label. It is based on the research we have done by interviewing experts in the field of food science.
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- Brewers yeast
- Caramel color
- Citric Acid
- Glucose syrup
- Guar Gum
- HVP or HPP
- Modified food starch
- Mono and diglycerides
- Oat gum
- Soy Sauce
- Sweet Potato
- Teriyaki sauce
- Wheat Starch
- Xanthan gum
Amaranth comes from an herb. Gluten free and high in nutritional value, it is puffed for cereal or ground into flour.
A gluten-free starch made from the root of an herb. It is a thickener that works like corn starch.
A grain that contains gluten. It is found in some soups and is processed to make malt flavoring.
Despite the name, buckwheat is a fruit. Nutritious and gluten free, buckwheat can be ground into flour. Buckwheat groats are the hulled seed of the buckwheat plant. When groats are roasted, they are called kasha. Buckwheat is sometimes combined with wheat flour in pancake and baking mixes, so you can’t assume all buckwheat products are gluten free. Always read the label.
Corn is used to make caramel color in the U.S. The FDA does permit use of barley malt but all major caramel color producers say corn makes a better product.
This ingredient is gluten free. It is usually made from corn, beet sugar or molasses. Even when made from wheat, citric acid is so highly processed and purified that no gluten protein would remain.
A gluten-free grain. It is used to make corn flour, corn starch, grits, hominy, and polenta, all of which are gluten free. Also called maize. Corn gluten does not contain the protein harmful to those who have celiac disease.
Dextrin made from corn, potato, arrowroot, rice, or tapioca is gluten free. It can be made from wheat, though this is rare and would not be gluten free. If dextrin is made from wheat, “wheat” will appear on the label.
Flavors are rarely made from gluten-containing grains, according to the Flavor Extract Manufacturers Association. If wheat is used to make a flavor, “wheat” must appear on the label. Some flavoring is made with ethanol that comes from wheat. In that case the flavor would still be gluten free because ethanol is distilled. Distillation removes the gluten protein.
A gluten-free sweetener made most frequently from corn, but also from tapioca, potato, sorghum or wheat starch. It is such a highly processed and purified ingredient that the source of the starch does not matter. Even if you see glucose syrup derived from wheat on a label, it is still gluten free.
The protein component of wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, einkorn, emmer and dinkle that is toxic to those who follow a gluten-free diet. The single word gluten is rarely used on a food label. It is listed more commonly as “wheat gluten” or just “wheat.” Other grains such as corn also have a gluten component. If the grain is safe, the gluten portion is safe.
A gluten-free thickening ingredient made from the guar bean. It is used in gluten-free baking to help provide the stretch that normally comes from gluten. It can work like a laxative if consumed in large quantities.
All plain herbs are gluten free
The source of the protein should always be listed on the label of a food that contains HVP (Hydrolyzed vegetable protein) or HPP (Hydrolyzed Plant Protein). If it is “hydrolyzed soy protein,” it would begluten free; if it is “hydrolyzed wheat protein” it would not be gluten free.
Used to thicken food, lecithin is usually made from soy and is gluten free.
Malt flavoring is usually made from barley and is not gluten free. Labels do not have to specify the source of malt flavoring but some companies voluntarily note which grain is used. In rare instances, malt is made from corn and wouldbe gluten free. Malt extract, malt syrup and malt flour are made from barley and are not gluten free. See Vinegar for info on malt vinegar.
Maltodextrin is gluten free. It can be made from a variety of starches, including corn, potato, rice or wheat. However the source does not matter because maltodextrin is such a highly processed ingredient that the protein is removed, rendering it gluten free. If wheat is used to make maltodextrin, “wheat” will be appear on the label. Even in this case, the maltodextrin would be gluten free.
A gluten-free grain that is used as a whole seed or ground into flour.
An ingredient made from a variety of starches. Modified food starch is gluten free unless it is made from wheat. If modified food starch is made from wheat, “wheat” will appear on the label. Also, more and more companies are listing all sources of modified food starch voluntarily.
Mono and diglycerides are fats and are gluten free.
Brand name of a gluten-free flour made from Indian rice grass.
Monosodium glutamate is a flavoring made through the fermentation of corn, sugar beets, or sugar cane. It is gluten-free.
Oat gum is rarely used as an ingredient. It is made from the carbohydrate portion of oats. Since gluten is a protein, oat gum would be gluten free.
Pure oats are gluten free. However, oats require very strict growing conditions to eliminate contamination from wheat. Oats grown under normal conditions and used inmainstream oat products are rarely “pure,” and are not considered gluten free.There are a few brands of gluten-free oats grown and processed in a manner that eliminates cross-contamination. These are labeled gluten free.
A vegetable used to make potato flour, potato starch and potato starch flour. It is gluten free.
This ancient grain-like plant from South America is gluten-free and very nutritious. It can be eaten as a whole grain or ground into flour. It is also used to make nutrient-packed gluten-free pasta.
A gluten-free grain. Brown, white, enriched rice and other kinds of plain rice are gluten free. Rice mixes are often seasoned and the seasoning can contain wheat which would be labeled. This is often true of wild rice mixes, though there are some brands that do not contain wheat and are gluten free. Rice flour is a common ingredient in gluten-free foods.
A gluten-containing grain. Rye flour is primarily used in rye bread. Aside from rye flavoring, it is rarely used to make ingredients.
Seasonings can contain a wide variety of ingredients. Some are not gluten free because they contain wheat flour or wheat starch, which will be noted on the label. Others contain only spices, herbs and gluten-free ingredients and are gluten free.
An ingredient found in vegetarian food that is made from wheat gluten.
Thin Japanese noodles, which are gluten free when made from pure buckwheat. When wheat flour is added, as is often the case, they are not gluten free.
A nutritious gluten-free grain that can be eaten like popcorn, cooked into porridge, or ground into flour. Used to make gluten-free beer. Also called milo.
A legume, soy is gluten free. It can be eaten as bean, ground into flour and processed to make other ingredients like lecithin.
Most brands of soy sauce contain wheat, which will be listed on the label. Some brands only contain soybeans and are gluten free.
Spelt is a form of wheat and is required by law to be listed as wheat on the label. Although those who are allergic to wheat may be able to tolerate spelt, it is not gluten free.
Pure spices are gluten free. Some contain silicon dioxide, but it is gluten-free and used to keep the spice free flowing.
On food labels, starch always means cornstarch and is gluten free.
An ingredient made from the root of the cassava plant, tapioca is gluten free. Tapioca flour, also know as tapioca starch, is often used in combination with other gluten-free flours to make baked goods. Also called manioc.
A nutritious gluten-free grain native to Ethiopia. As whole grain it can be eaten as cereal. It is also ground into flour.
Most contain soy sauce and are not gluten free. There are several specialty gluten-free brands available
Often used in vegetarian recipes, tofu is made from soybeans, water and a curdling agent. When plain, it is gluten free. If soy sauce made from wheat is used toflavor tofu it is not gluten free.
A cross bred hybrid of wheat and rye that contains gluten.
A gluten-free flavoring made from distilled alcohol and flavor extracted from the vanilla seed (pure extract) or from artificial vanilla flavoring (artificial extract). Distillation removes the gluten protein from the alcohol.
Distilled vinegar is gluten free and has always been gluten free. There is no evidence that suggests vinegar might be dangerous for those who follow the gluten-free diet. The only vinegar to avoid is malt vinegar, which is made from barley and is not distilled.
A gluten-containing grain. Bulgur, durum, einkorn, farina, graham, kamut, semolina, and spelt are all forms of wheat.
A starch made from wheat. If wheat starch is used, “wheat” has to appear on the food label. Although processing often removes the gluten protein, someresidual gluten can remain so wheat starch is not considered gluten free in theUS. ** A special grade of wheat starch is permitted on the gluten-free diet in some European countries.
The liquid part of milk that is separated from solids when cheese is made. It is used as an additive in many processed foods and is gluten free.
An ingredient used to give stretch to gluten-free baked goods in place of gluten. It is made by fermentation of glucose by xanthomonas campestris bacterium, from which it gets its name.
All brand-name packaged yeasts sold in the US are gluten free. Autolyzed yeast in a food product is generally considered gluten free. Brewers’ yeast, when it’s a by-product of beer, is not considered gluten free. Brewers yeast nutritional supplements, however, can be made from either brewer’s yeast or sugar. If made from sugar, they are gluten free.