What Foods Have Gluten?

Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and any foods made with these grains.

Avoiding wheat can be especially hard because this means you should avoid all wheat-based flours and ingredients. These include but are not limited to:

  • White Flour
  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • Durum Wheat
  • Graham Flour
  • Triticale
  • Kamut
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Wheat Germ
  • Wheat Bran

Common foods that are usually made with wheat include:

  • Pasta
  • Couscous
  • Bread
  • Flour Tortillas
  • Cookies
  • Cakes
  • Muffins
  • Pastries
  • Cereal
  • Crackers
  • Beer
  • Oats (see the section on oats below)
  • Gravy
  • Dressings
  • Sauces

This may seem like a long list, but there are still plenty of gluten-free foods out there! Choose from many fresh, healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, dairy, nuts and gluten-free grains like quinoa or rice. There are also gluten-free versions of many of the foods above available in most grocery stores. You just have to look for them!

Gluten Surprises

You may not expect it, but the following foods can also contain gluten:

  • broth in soups and bouillon cubes
  • breadcrumbs and croutons
  • some candies
  • fried foods
  • imitation fish
  • some lunch meats and hot dogs
  • malt
  • matzo
  • modified food starch
  • seasoned chips and other seasoned snack foods
  • salad dressings
  • self-basting turkey
  • soy sauce
  • seasoned rice and pasta mixes

There are also many addititves and ingredients in packaged foods that may contain gluten. Always check labels and ingredient lists for these. For a more comprehensive list of gluten-containing additives, contact your local celiac support group.

Other Tips to Remember

  • Don't forget that ingredients in food products change frequently, so always check the label before buying packaged foods.
  • Remember that "wheat-free" does not automatically mean "gluten-free." While a product may not contain wheat, it can still contain rye or barley in some form.
  • If you have any question about whether a food contains gluten, contact the manufacturer directly.

The Fuss About Oats

Pure oats are a gluten-free food, but most commercially processed oats have been contaminated during the growing, harvesting or processing stages. In the past, many experts recommended completely avoiding oats  those on a gluten-free diet in addition to wheat, barley, and rye. Now, some oats are grown and processed separately, and can be labeled "gluten-free."

Many people with celiac disease are still advised to avoid oats initially. However, oats can help provide fiber and other important nutrients. Over time, most people with celiac can reintroduce pure oats in small amounts (about 1/2 cup of dry oats per day) without any trouble.

If you do choose to include them, let your doctor know and only eat oats that are marked "gluten-free".

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Next: What Can I Eat That is Gluten-Free?

You can find resources and organizations that deal specifically with gluten-free issues by searching for "gluten-free" or "celiac disease" in your preferred search engine.

  • Last Reviewed: August 2, 2013
  • Last Edited: March 11, 2014

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