How to Find Hidden Sources of Gluten

How to Find Hidden Sources of Gluten

Written by Shaynie Ashkenazi, Nutritionist & Founding Director.


Cutting out gluten from your diet for medical reasons, like a Coeliac Disease diagnosis, is tough enough.

But what about hidden sources of gluten in common food items you would have thought were totally gluten free?

This blog helps to decode some of the common foods and food products to be weary of, and provides some examples of consumables to caution due to undeclared or hidden gluten.

Nutritional Supplements & Medications

Gluten may be used as a coating or filler in supplements & medications. It is important to always review the ingredients list on any medications sold over the counter in the pharmacy, or any vitamin or mineral supplements.

Your doctor should review your medications and ensure ones containing gluten are avoided, while providing suitable gluten free alternatives.

Given that individuals with Celiac Disease have a greater need for nutrients like iron, B vitamins and vitamin D, it is important to choose a gluten free nutritional supplement which does not have adverse consequences. (1,3)

Meat, Fish, Poultry & Substitutes

Processed deli & lunch meats like ham, turkey & roast beef, and cold cuts including salami & sausage may contain gluten. Be weary of 'hydrolyzed wheat protein' in these products.

The seasoning and/or other coatings used to cook meat may also contain gluten, as well as bacon, veggie burgers and imitation seafood.

Hot Chips & Fries

Potato & corn are naturally gluten free, however chip seasonings may contain wheat starch or malt vinegar.

Beware of cross-contamination risk for French fries and tortilla chips which may be fried in the same flyer oil as foods which contain gluten. (2)

Snacks & Sweets

Flavoured ice creams e.g. with added cookies, chocolate & confectionery, may contain gluten. Licorice may contain gluten, as well as granola, protein & other snack bars.

Try to read labels before purchasing snack items so you can be sure ingredients are gluten free, and that the product has been manufactured on a gluten free production line, as manufacturing practices may change over time.

Soy Sauce & Miso

Except for tamari, soy sauce is made with wheat. The soup base 'miso' may be made with barley, a known gluten-containing grain. (3)

Salad Dressings

Be weary of salad bars due to cross-contamination risk. If dining out, make sure you ask your server to avoid adding croutons to your salad.

Soups & Gravies

Sauces, soups & gravies may contain added thickeners which contain gluten.

Beverages & Alcohol

Flavoured tea & coffee may contain gluten, and lager, ale, beer and malt beverages may also contain gluten.

Distilled alcohol including vodka & gin are safe for people with Coeliac's Disease.

General Tips for Detecting 'Hidden' Gluten

Understand all forms of wheat

Wheat berries, spelt, semonila, durum, spelt, emmer, udon and einkorn contain gluten, including 'modified' products of wheat i.e. wheat starch.

Look Out for Confusing Ingredients

If a product is not labeled gluten-free, but does contain one of these ingredients in its ingredients list, do not buy it:

  • Starch
  • Modified wheat starch
  • Hydrolyzed plant protein
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Textured vegetable protein
  • Maltodextrin
  • Dextrin
  • Caramel
  • Glucose syrup
  • Malt extract
  • Malt flavouring
  • Malt vinegar
  • Brown rice syrup


If you can’t ascertain is a product is gluten-free, use nutritionally-sound whole foods like fish, meat, poultry, vegetables & fruit.

Choose naturally gluten-free starches like quinoa, rice, corn, potato, buckwheat, sorghum and wild rice, or try nut-based flours i.e. almond flour.


Rondanelli et al. (2019). Micronutrients Dietary Supplementation Advices for Celiac Patients on Long-Term Gluten-Free Diet with Good Compliance: A Review. Medicina (Kaunas). 2019 Jul; 55(7): 337. Published online 2019 Jul 3. doi: 10.3390/medicina55070337.
Lori Welstead & Stefano Guandalini (2015). The Gluten-Free Diet in the 3rd Millennium: Rules, Risks and Opportunities. Diseases. 2015 Sep; 3(3): 136–149. Published online 2015 Jul 13. doi: 10.3390/diseases3030136.
Wieser et al. (2021). Food Safety and Cross-Contamination of Gluten-Free Products: A Narrative Review. Nutrients 2021, 13(7), 2244,

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