Wheat-Free Warning: 7 Foods That Can Contain Gluten

Gluten-Free
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Perhaps you have celiac disease. Maybe you're allergic to gluten or have a wheat intolerance. Whatever your reason, you've decided to go on a gluten-free diet. You know to avoid most types of bread, cereal and pasta. But what you may not know: Many foods contain gluten - and some aren't even labeled! Read on to discover what you need to know before you head to the grocery store.

The American Diabetes Association reports that the following foods often contain gluten:

  • Soy sauce often contains wheat. Look for brands that specifically say gluten-free.
  • Imitation fish can contain gluten. You're better off with the real thing.
  • Salad dressings may use gluten or wheat as a thickener, so read the label carefully.
  • Pickles? Strange but true, because they may use malt vinegar, which contains gluten.
  • Broths and bullion cubes seem innocent, but check the label: Some do contain wheat.
  • Hot dogs? Think of them as "not dogs," because some use wheat gluten as fillers.
  • Vegetables in sauces, such as frozen veggies in a sauce or in a restaurant, may also contain hidden wheat.

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Wheat and Gluten Warnings
In addition, cautions the Mayo Clinic, don't assume that the following are gluten-free. Ask before you touch:

  • Food additives, such as malt flavoring, modified food starch and others
  • Medications and vitamins that use gluten as a binding agent
  • Play dough

Plus: Beware of cross-contamination. This problem happens if a gluten-free foods touches a food containing gluten, such as in a restaurant if the same pan is used to make different dishes. Ask at restaurants, and if you're buying a food and it says "May Contain Wheat," avoid.

Cooking at home? "Cross-contamination can also occur at home if foods are prepared on common surfaces or with utensils that weren't thoroughly cleaned after being used to prepare gluten-containing foods. Using a common toaster for gluten-free bread and regular bread is a major source of contamination, for example. Consider what steps you need to take to prevent cross-contamination at home, school or work," says the Mayo Clinic.

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