Hidden Gluten

Hidden Gluten in food occurs in many ways.  Sharing fermented foods, condiments & dressings seems like it would not be an issue, but it is.  Most distilled vinegar is made from a mash that includes wheat, this is why all fermented foods, condiments & dressings require the GF Label to be eaten safely by those with CD or Gluten Sensitivities.


Hidden Gluten1

Reading ingredient statements is at the core of gluten free living.  Many flavorings use a wheat base, many colorings use a malt (barley) base,  and condiments often use wheat or gluten containing source grains to create a thick or gravy texture. Consequently, careful consideration should be given to choosing condiments.  I suggest keeping a list of gluten containing ingredients and suspect additives, until you become accustomed to what additives you are trying to avoid.  Email your favorite condiment manufacturers and ask them directly for a gluten free product list.

Some spice manufacturers use anti-caking agents, if the anti-caking agent has a wheat source it is supposed to be listed.  At the time of this writing, Frontier Organics states their spices are free from gluten containing anti-caking agents. Steak Sauces are a huge source of hidden glutens; Lea & Perrins Worcestershire is free from gluten containing ingredients.  Asian Sauces, like Duck, Plum, and Hoison, often have hidden gluten.  I find many condiment companies are very happy to answer questions about gluten and manufacturing; many products are gluten free and produced in facilities which don’t process wheat.  French Fries & Various Prepackaged Potatoes are often plagued with hidden gluten – this is especially true in restaurants!  Coatings are generally the main culprit, some manufacturers use corn but many use wheat.

Checking your chocolate is crucial.  Most chocolate contains either soy lecithin (a natural emulsifier) or malt (from barley.)  Soy is often contaminated with gluten and barley has gluten.  A lot of candies use wheat as a thickener and stabilizer.  Many brands of marshmallows use some form of wheat.  Many Alcohol Mixers have hidden or direct gluten.  I always recommend learning how to make the drink from scratch – generally the original drink has no gluten and much better flavor.

         Let’s touch on soy for a moment.  Soy is a rotation crop for wheat and is often contaminated with gluten.  Soy Saucein the American marketplace is almost always exposed to gluten, specifically wheat.  I recommend using Tamari that says it is from a gluten free source use gluten free Braggs Liquid Aminos.  Vitasoy, producer of Nasoya Tofu and Nayonnaise, confirmed their product is gluten free.  Some soy milk contains barley malt or soy from rotated crops, Silk has confirmed their product is gluten free.  At the time of this writing, there are no available brands of soy flour on the market which are gluten free.  “Wheat free” is not “gluten free”, be very careful when choosing ingredients.

     Store bought Salad Dressings, Marinades & BBQ Sauces:  Homemade salad dressings are actually quite easy to make and store well,   Beware of “smoke” and “liquid smoke” as it is often made from malt (barley).   Annie’s Naturals, Paul Newman’s, Lawry’s, Goya, Eden Organics, Arrowhead Mills, Frontier Natural Foods, Ken’s and many more manufacturers have products made without gluten.  Always read labels when you go to the market.

Vinegar:  Clear Vinegars are often made from malt derivatives, often barley  or wheat in the mash. Mustard is often made with malt (barley) vinegar. Red or white wine vinegars are generally free from gluten containing ingredients, but always check the label or contact the manufacturer.  Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar is also gluten free.

As delicious as wheat had been in my previous daily diet, I find the spectrum of new flavors available in gluten free flours to be far more exciting and enticing!  Kitchen Wisdom demonstrates the belief anyone interested in cooking or baking gluten free can learn to do so and it need not be a difficult transition.


1.  “Gluten Free Entertaining”; Celiac Central

2.  Correspondence with various food manufacturers (Unilever, Lawry’s, McCormick, Heinz, Goya, Frontier Natural Foods, Nasoya, Braggs, etc.)

 “Gluten Free Condiments:  Beware of Hidden Gluten” by Liz Conforti, Kitchen Wisdom Gluten Free – Forget What You Know About Wheat(c) 2014



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