Gluten is a combination of proteins glutenin and gliadin, and is a special form of protein mostly found in grains and starches including wheat, barley and rye. Legend has it that gluten was discovered by a group of Buddhist monks in China during the 7th century. Today it serves as a key component in many food products. However, foods rich in gluten can be the main cause of allergies.
Gluten helps to make bakery products like breads and cakes elastic. It provides a chewy texture when eaten. It ensures that bakery products have a proper texture. It is also added in products like ketchups and ice-cream as an additive and stabilizing agent. Interestingly, in Asian countries, especially in China and Japan, it serves as a substitute for meats in vegetarian cuisines.
Foods that contain gluten pose a grave problem for people suffering from Celiac Disease. According to the National Institutes of Health (https://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/celiac/index.htm), about 0.5 to 1.0 percent of the population in the United States are sensitive to Gluten. Gluten also triggers other kinds of allergies and neuropathies even if an individual inhales gluten–rich foods. Under such circumstances it is very important to check what foods contain gluten. There are some foods which can trick individuals and lure them into thinking they are safe. Here is a list of some foods with hidden gluten:
List of Foods that Contain Gluten
• Soy: Soy foods, especially soy-based vegetable burgers and soy sauce, are one of the common sources of hidden gluten. Beware of veggie soy burgers as they contain “vital wheat gluten”. This substance gives foods the taste of and texture of meats like pork and beef.
• Soups: Instant roux based soups (soups made with flour) contain gluten.
• Stock cubes and gravy powders
• Brown Rice Syrups
• Malt Vinegar
• White Pepper (In some restaurants, flour is added to white pepper to avoid stickiness and maintain a free flow)
• Pickles as well as some curry powders contain gluten
Interestingly, some cosmetic products, including lipstick, and pharmaceutical products and toothpastes also contain gluten. There are also many grains and starches that contain gluten. These include wheat, rye, barley, semolina, bulgur, wheat germ and wheat grass.
If you are following a gluten-free diet, you must ensure that the food you are consuming does not contain gluten at all. The best practice is to read the list of ingredients printed on the label of each product to ascertain what foods contain gluten. Beware of products that claim to be gluten-free, but include ingredients like malt, wheat starch or wheat grass. Remember, do not compromise your health and be alert by reading the ingredient-list carefully. There are also many restaurants that serve gluten-free food. Read the List of Restaurants Serving Gluten-Free Food to know more about the restaurants that serve gluten-free foods,
This post is part of the series: Overcoming the Challenges of a Gluten and Wheat Free Diet
It can be quite a challenge for people with gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease to find delicious, nutritious gluten free foods. Gluten free products are expensive, and gluten and wheat free grains are a little harder to find, but with a bit of effort and guidance it can be done.