Gluten can hide in unsuspecting products. Be sure to check for a gluten-free label and even consult the list of ingredients. Also, always remember cross contamination can occur at places where food is prepared—and if we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a hundred times—wheat free does not always mean gluten-free. Here are some common culprits containing gluten that may surprise you.
- Soy Sauce: Regular soy sauce contains wheat which means gluten is lurking. Check the ingredient list and don’t be afraid to carry your own gluten-free soy sauce to your favorite restaurants.
- French Fries: Depending on how they’re cooked, even French Fries could contain gluten. Some restaurants may use frozen fries and coat them with flour for a crispy coating when fried.
- Soup: Savory soups typically found in cans and restaurants are thickened with wheat flour which contains gluten or may contain gluten ingredients such as noodles.
- Alcohol: To ensure your happy hour stays happy, stick to wine as most of it is gluten-free. Beer and some vodka however contain wheat, which again has gluten. Check the label before cheers.
- Salad Dressing and Sauce: How do you top your salad? If vinegar or olive oil is the answer, you are safe. But beware—many dressings and sauces are prepared similar to soups and use gluten as a thickener.
- Lip Balm: Are your smooches gluten-free? It depends. Some lip balms also use gluten to thicken it up.
- Candy: Did you know Licorice contains wheat no matter which variety you like – red or black, gluten can attack.
- Processed Meats & Mock Meats: Seitan (a popular mock meat among vegetarians and vegans) is 100% gluten. The same goes for many fake cheeses and processed meats, too. That chewy texture is thanks to gluten most often than not. Some marinated meats contain soy (wheat) in the sauce, so be careful.
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Article By Jeff Pearl, MD
Dr. Jeff is a trained general, pediatric cardiac, and transplant surgeon. Nutrition has always been an important concern for surgeons in regards to patients healing from surgery. He has had a longstanding interest in health, nutrition and supplements, and been an advocate of the use of nutrition and supplements in the hospital setting to aid in his patient’s recovery. He has a history of basic science and clinical research and a keen ability to interpret studies and statistics to determine their true significance. He is the father and step-father to several teenage athletes and knows firsthand the challenges they face in balancing their time, eating habits and use of supplements. He is adamant about trying to educate our youth about better nutrition. Dr. Jeff recognizes the challenges that healthcare faces and the need for people to take charge of their own health and disease prevention. He loves being outside and is one of those crazy few seen hiking or biking in the middle of the day in summer.