Hidden Food Allergens & Gluten Allergies

Posted 5.18.10 | Nutrition Specialist

This month we are doing a series of blog posts on hidden food allergens. So far we have discussed hidden sources of the allergens dairy and soy, and this week we will discuss hidden sources of gluten.

If your little one has a gluten allergy or intolerance, you are quite aware of the many challenges it causes. Gluten is a protein commonly found in all forms of wheat and related grains like rye, barley and possibly oats. It is also in many other foods consumed daily, such as cereal, breads and pasta. Depending on the severity of the intolerance to gluten, different side effects may occur. They may be limited to GI discomfort, such as diarrhea, gas and bloating. A more severe intolerance would be classified as celiac disease (CD), a lifelong digestive disorder that causes damage to the small intestine and prevents absorption.

Gluten-Free Diets

If you or a loved one is following a gluten-free diet, it is important to be aware of where gluten may be hidden. Luckily, a gluten-free diet is not as limiting as it used to be. Now, gluten-free breads, pastas and prepared foods are available, which really aid compliance on a tricky diet! You can purchase these gluten-free foods from most grocery stores or online.

As a general rule of thumb, if following a gluten-free diet, you should avoid the following 1,2 :

Wheat and Gluten Ingredients:

  • Anything which contains: wheat, rye, barley, spelt and millet
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein, sprouted wheat or barley malt
  • Anything with the term “gluten”
  • Words that refer to the specific kind of grain or wheat
    • Ex: bulgar, durum, farina, macha, matzo or matza, kamut, graham, semolina, seitan, fu, udon, couscous, tabbouleh

Generalized terms which should be avoided with gluten allergies:

  • Malt/Malted milk/malt extract/malt syrup
  • Soy sauce/Teriyaki sauce
  • Flour
  • Beer (most contain barley or wheat)
  • Bran
  • Germ
  • Orzo (pasta)
  • Cookie crumbs/cookie dough
  • Bread crumbs
  • Gravy
  • Seafood analogs (imitation crab contains wheat)
  • Bouillon or broth

Everyday products which may contain hidden sources of gluten:

  • Lip balm
  • Sunscreen
  • Children’s stickers
  • Stamps and envelopes
  • Soaps and shampoos
  • Washing machine detergent
  • Toothpaste and mouthwash
  • Medicine and antibiotics
  • Ground spices

For a complete list of foods to avoid and other resources about celiac disease, visit www.celiac.com

Can you think of any other hidden sources of gluten that weren’t mentioned?



1. Hidden Ingredients Containing Wheat or Gluten: Tips and Tricks on How to Discern Gluten Ingredients http://food-allergies.suite101.com/article.cfm/hidden_ingredients_containing_wheat_or_gluten#ixzz0oD3Qh3V2

2. http://gfcf-diet.talkaboutcuringautism.org/hidden-sources-of-gluten.htm

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Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.