Spotting Hidden Gluten

Posted in Gluten Free

Dear Brand Doctor:

My son was recently diagnosed with a wheat allergy and his physician recommended that he follow a gluten-free diet. Can you PLEASE provide some easy label reading tips on how to quickly determine if a product is gluten-free? I am going nuts having to read every label!!

Signed, Wheatless in Seattle

Dear Wheatless,

You’ve come to the right place! Not only can we offer timesaving tips on how to spot the hidden gluten in many food products, but we also have some gluten-free product lists for many brand name foods. So don’t make out your next shopping list until you’ve checked out what eBrandAid has to offer!

Let’s start with a quick gluten-free diet overview. This type of diet needs to be completely free of wheat, rye, and barley. The good news: you can safely eat corn, potato, rice, soybeans, tapioca, arrowroot, carob, buckwheat, millet, amaranth and quinoa.

Here’s the tricky part that requires a keen eye when reading labels. Grains are used in the processing of many ingredients, so it’s extremely important to be able to spot the hidden sources of gluten. The following label terms may mean that there is gluten in the product.

  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP), unless made from soy or corn.
  • Flour or Cereal products, unless made with pure rice flour, corn flour, potato flour, or soy flour.
  • Vegetable Protein unless made from soy or corn.
  • Malt or Malt Flavoring unless derived from corn.
  • Modified Starch or Modified Food Starch unless arrowroot, corn, potato, tapioca, waxy maize, or maize are used.
  • Vegetable Gum unless it’s carob bean gum, locust bean gum, cellulose gum, guar gum, gum arabic, gum aracia, gum tragacanth, xanthan gum, or vegetable starch.
  • Soy Sauce or Soy Sauce Solids unless you know they do not contain wheat.

If you see any of the following words on a food label there’s a good chance that a grain containing gluten has been used:

  • stabilizer
  • starch
  • flavoring
  • emulsifier
  • hydrolyzed plant protein

That’s a lot to absorb, although, it is important for you to know this information when decoding food labels. So, to make things super easy for you, we did some research and found two great online resources that provide downloadable lists (see links below) of gluten-free products in most food categories!
Our food sleuths uncovered a goldmine of gluten-free products on the websites for both Trader Joe’s (a specialty grocery store) and Whole Foods Market (the world’s leading retailer of natural and organic foods) – they really go the extra mile for their customers!

Reality Check

Not lucky enough to live near either of these specialty stores? Your local grocery store may carry some of the brand name products mentioned on these lists. You’ll probably find most of them in the “healthy foods” section.

If not, download the BrandAid Product Request Form. Simply complete our form with the gluten-free products you’d like to try and you just might prod your grocer into stocking the products you desire!

We hope we’ve eased your mind mom, so you aren’t Sleepless in Seattle, too!

Remember, when you’re armed with a little eBrandAid know-how, you’re in control at the grocery store.

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In Our Opinion: The information contained in the eBrandAid e-newsletters is strictly based on the opinions of the eBrand Doctors. We have created a set of guidelines that we believe will help shoppers to better understand and decode food labels on products found in most grocery stores. Our mission is to help shoppers find the healthier brands that have the least amount of chemicals and other junk ingredients.

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