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Gluten - The Stealth Foe

Gluten - The Stealth Foe

While most people suffering with gluten intolerance or celiac disease know that they must avoid wheat-based flours, breads, pastas, crackers and baked goods, they often overlook the many other foods, beverages, and cosmetic/hygienic products that harbor gluten. Yes, gluten is a wily and formidable opponent, and one must be a vigilant label reader to avoid suffering serious attacks.

The table below lists some of the unlikely places where gluten may be found. The best defense against being “glutened” is to purchase foods and beverages specifically labeled gluten-free and to carefully check ingredient lists of those foods that are not specifically labeled.

Gluten Source:


Condiments such as soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, bbq sauces, ketchup, plum sauce, french mustards

There are many gluten-free varieties of these sauces and condiments now on the market.

Spices and rubs

Read labels carefully. Many spices conain gluten as an anti-caking agent

Chicken, beef and vegetable broths and bouillons.

Several broth and bouillon brands use gluten as a thickener


Unless otherwise noted, most gravies contain wheat as a thickener. There are a few gluten-free brands that use corn starch as a thickener


Most commercial cereals, even corn flakes, contain wheat. Increasingly some of the big cereal manufacturers are starting to offer gluten free cereals such as gluten-free Cherios, Corn and Rice Chex, etc.

Modified Food Starch

Many foods contain modified food starch which usually includes wheat. Avoid these foods unless the label reads “Modified Food Starch - corn”.

Liquor (vodkas, beer, certain liqueurs, hard ciders made with malt and certain aperitifs.

A list of gluten free alcohol brands can be found at:


While oatmeal is generally gluten-free, many oatmeals are processed on the same equipment as other gluten-containing grains. Be sure to choose gluten-free oatmeal brand.

Blue cheese or Gorgonzola

Some cheese makers grow the characteristic “blue” streak on a wheat based bread substrate. Brands such as Rosenborg, BelGioso, Dutch Farms, Organic Valley, Litehouse and Rogue Creamery

Other cheeses

The following list of cheeses has the highest risk of containing gluten: American cheese, blue cheese, cheese spreads, powdered cheeses, shredded cheeses (often coated with flour to prevent caking)


Be sure to read the labels; many candies contain gluten. The following site contains a comprehensive list of gluten-free candies:

Lunch meat

Be sure to ask your deli manager if their cold cut brands are gluten free. The following website contains a list of popular cold cut brands that are free of gluten:


Many sausages contain bread in their stuffing. Be sure to check with your local butcher.

Artificial crab meat

Most artificial crab meat contains wheat as a filler

Malt vinegar

Avoid any foods or beverages that contain malt which is a wheat derivative

Restaurant eggs

Some restaurants such as International House of Pancakes add pancake batter to their eggs to make them fluffy.

Frozen or restaurant French fries

Some brands of frozen French fries have been coated with flour to prevent caking. Be sure to read label or inquire of restaurant staff

Cocktail mixers

Some cocktail mixes such as Margarita mix contain wheat.

Some chewing gums and cough lozenges

Some vitamin supplements and over-the-counter drugs

Example: beano

Rice pilaf and other rice mixes

Many include a wheat-based orzo shaped pasta as the “pilaf”

Salad dressings

Depending on the severity of one’s gluten intolerance, some individuals are also sensitive to shampoos and other hygienic or cosmetic products containing wheat. In these cases, the gluten is absorbed through the individual’s skin and released into the bloodstream where it wreaks havoc with the person’s immune response system.


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