It’s Complicated: Exploring “Gluten Free” Part Three

August 21, 2021 2 min read

It’s Complicated: Exploring “Gluten Free” Part Three

Part Three of my four-part series on gluten.

What Not to Eat

If you took a look at my first two Gluten articles, you now understand the science behind the body’s relationship to gluten. But how do you avoid gluten? Is gluten hiding in foods that you normally eat? What about gluten in other products, like skincare and home products? If you are trying to cleanse your life of gluten, read on.

First of all, here are the foods you probably know contain gluten:
  • Flour: white, whole wheat, bleached, unbleached, enriched, etc.

  • All wheat: flour, bran, germ

  • Grains: bulgur, barley, couscous, kamut, oats (if not marked as “gluten-free”), rye, semolina, spelt, triticale

And here are some common foods that likely contain gluten:
  • Alcohol made from grain alcohol: beer, wine, bourbon/whisky, gin

  • Baked goods, unless marked “gluten-free:” pies, biscuits, breads, cookies, cakes

  • Crackers, matzo, some chips

  • Pasta: macaroni, noodles, spaghetti, some corn pasta

  • Breakfast cereal

  • Breaded meats or vegetables

  • Baking mixes

Also keep an eye out for these ingredients. If you see them on labels, the product contains gluten:
  • Starches: corn starch, wheat starch, modified food starch, gelatinized starch, vegetable starch (and vegetable gum)

  • Farina

  • MSG

  • Malt

  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein

  • Yeast

Gluten is not always easy to spot. It’s often hiding in these foods:
  • Battered food: fish sticks, fried chicken, onion rings, etc.

  • Boxed rice mixes & canned baked beans

  • Chewing gum, candy & licorice

  • Cream sauce, gravy, tomato sauces, soups & bouillon cubes (thickening agent)

  • Ice cream & milk shakes (thickening agent)

  • Imitation seafood

  • Instant drinks, including coffee, hot cocoa, Ovaltine & artificial creamer

  • Pepper (compound or synthetic, powdered)

  • Processed meat: hamburgers, hotdogs, sausage, lunch meats

  • Some ground spices

  • Some veined cheeses

  • Soy sauce & some teriyaki sauces

  • Veggie burgers & seitan (meat substitute made of wheat gluten)

Now that you are a gluten detective, let’s tackle non-food items like cosmetics. Can gluten in these items still trigger celiac-type reactions? Some say No, products shouldn’t affect you unless they go in your mouth or over an open sore. However, my patients have reported negative reactions to skin products that contain derivatives of gluten.

Here are some non-food items that may contain gluten:
  • Dental products: sealants, plastics, mouthwash, toothpaste

  • Body products: hairspray, lotion, makeup, soap, shampoo, sunscreen, lip balm

  • Glue on stamps and envelopes

  • Capsules and tablets: low quality vitamins, supplements, medicines

  • Laundry detergent

  • Playdough

When it comes to gluten in skin products, it really depends on your level of sensitivity. Some are not reactive at all, while others must completely avoid exposure. If you are still having symptoms, you might want to switch to allergen-free brands like those listed at Skins Matter.

Now that you know all the things you should avoid, check out my fourth and final post on Gluten, “Baking with Gluten Free Flours,” for things you CAN eat.

Want to look deeper at your health before changing your diet? Dr. Charny can work with you to identify food sensitivities and shape your diet for your individual wellness. Make an appointment today:310-553-4242.

Dr. Charny

Dr. Charny

Chiropractic Physician • Diplomat in Clinical Nutrition • Board Certified Naturopathic Physician

Dr. C. Charny is the founder of the Charny Healing Center in Beverly Hills. Dr. Charny has been exploring holistic forms of health care for over 30 years, utilizing a wide variety of innovative therapies to resolve complex problems that have failed to respond to traditional treatment methods. Dr. Charny’s approach is rooted in the nexus of functional and biological medicine – she views the two as integral aspects of holistic healing.


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