This comprehensive guide will provide a details Gluten Food List, the foods to avoid, and gluten-free food alternatives.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a type of protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. For most people, gluten does not pose any health concerns. However, for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten can cause serious health issues and must be avoided.
When someone with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity consumes gluten, it triggers an immune response that damages the small intestine. This can lead to symptoms like bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, fatigue, and more. The only treatment for celiac disease or gluten sensitivity is adhering to a strict lifelong gluten-free diet.
Why Go Gluten-Free?
In addition to those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, there are others who may benefit from eliminating gluten:
- Digestive issues – Some experience improved digestion and reduced inflammation when removing gluten.
- Autoimmune disorders – Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s, and lupus may improve on gluten-free diets.
- Neurological disorders – Gluten has been linked to problems like dementia, epilepsy, and migraines in some cases.
- Skin conditions – Issues like eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis herpetiformis often improve sans gluten.
- Mental health disorders – Conditions like anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia have been associated with gluten intake.
Going gluten-free may provide relief from the symptoms of these disorders. It is best to consult with a medical professional before making dietary changes.
Complete Gluten Food List
Gluten is primarily found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. Here are some common food products that contain gluten:
Bread, Pasta, Baked Goods
- Cookies, cakes, muffins, donuts
- Pizza crust
- Pies, tarts
- Baked goods mixes
- Bread crumbs, croutons
- Breakfast cereals containing wheat, barley or rye
- Oats (often cross-contaminated with wheat)
- Wheat (including varieties like spelled, farro, durum, and einkorn)
- Granola bars
- Chips, pretzels with wheat-based ingredients
- Candies containing barley malt
- Soy sauce
- Teriyaki sauce
- Salad dressings marinade with gluten-containing ingredients
- Gravies thickened with wheat flour
- Malt beverages
- Some flavored liquors like vodka, gin, tequila, rum, etc.
- Soup bases/bouillon cubes containing wheat or barley
- Imitation meats containing wheat gluten or textured vegetable protein
- Gravy cubes and packets
- Sauces like cheese sauce, curry sauce, tomato sauce, bechamel sauce
- Stuffing, dressing
- Veggie or soy burgers containing wheat gluten
It’s important to always check the label for any of these ingredients that indicate the presence of gluten:
- Brewer’s yeast
- Oats (frequently contaminated)
- Wheat starch, wheat bran, wheat germ
- Durum flour
So in summary, any products containing wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats should be assumed to contain gluten and avoided. Being a savvy label reader is key!
Naturally Gluten-Free Foods
While many common foods contain gluten, there are still plenty of naturally gluten-free options to enjoy on a gluten-free diet:
- Fish and seafood
- Legumes, beans, lentils
- Nuts and seeds
- Cream cheese
- Ice cream
Fruits & Vegetables
- All fresh fruits like apples, berries, citrus fruits, bananas, etc.
- All fresh vegetables
- Frozen fruits and veggies without additives
- Canned fruits packed in juice or water
- Canned vegetables without additives
Grains & Starches
- Nut flours like almond, coconut
- Oats certified gluten-free
- Coffee, tea (watch flavored coffees)
- Juice made from gluten-free fruits/veggies
- Most plant-based milk like almond, coconut, rice milk
- Hard ciders
- Distilled alcohol like vodka, gin, etc.
Fats & Oils
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Vegetable oil
- Avocado oil
Herbs, Spices & Condiments
- All fresh and dried herbs like parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, etc.
- All spices
- Salt, pepper, garlic, onions, etc.
- Apple cider vinegar
- Balsamic vinegar
- Xanthan gum
- Guar gum
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
Tips for Following a Gluten-Free Diet
Be Vigilant About Reading Labels
Get in the habit of always reading the ingredients, including foods that are typically gluten-free. Companies may change formulas or production practices.
Watch Out For Cross-Contamination
Even naturally gluten-free grains like rice and oats can get contaminated with gluten in growing and processing. Opt for grains specifically labeled gluten-free.
Cook More Meals At Home
Preparing your own meals allows you to control exactly what ingredients go into each dish.
Know Your Safe Restaurants
Scope out restaurants beforehand online and call ahead to ask questions if needed. Stick to basic grilled, steamed, and roasted dishes.
Bring Your Own Food
When attending social events, traveling, or being skeptical about food options, pack some gluten-free snacks or a meal.
Look For Gluten-Free Labels
Seek out products marked “gluten-free” to take the guesswork out of safe options.
Avoid Obvious Gluten Sources
Steer clear of things like regular bread, pasta, baked goods, beer, and ale.
Watch For Hidden Gluten
Gluten can turn up in unsuspected items like sauces, dressings, seasonings, broths, and more. Verify no gluten ingredients.
Shop Gluten-Free Specialty Stores
Stores that specialize in gluten-free offer all types of safe, gluten-checked products.
Communicate With Friends & Family
Make loved ones aware of your needs so they can accommodate you at social gatherings.
Following a strict gluten-free diet while avoiding contamination takes dedication, but gets easier with practice. Supporting others in your household to go gluten-free also simplifies the process.
Frequently Asked Questions About Gluten-Free Diets
What are some common signs that I may be sensitive to gluten?
Some common symptoms of gluten sensitivity include bloating, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, fatigue, skin issues, and brain fog after consuming gluten. Keeping a food journal can help identify problem foods.
Is gluten-free healthier for everyone?
No, gluten-free is not necessarily healthier for people who do not have gluten intolerances. Gluten-free versions of foods are typically lower in nutrients like B vitamins, iron, and fiber compared to gluten-containing foods.
What are good gluten-free whole grain options?
Great whole grain gluten-free choices include brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, teff, amaranth, certified gluten-free oats, millet, sorghum, and corn.
Are gluten-free products more expensive?
Yes, gluten-free specialty products tend to cost more than conventional wheat-based products. Focusing on naturally gluten-free whole foods can help save money. Buying gluten-free products on sale also helps.
Is oatmeal gluten-free?
Pure oats are naturally gluten-free. However, many get contaminated with wheat during growing and processing. Only purchase oats specifically labeled “gluten-free” to be safe.
Can I still drink alcohol on a gluten-free diet?
Yes, there are many gluten-free alcoholic options to choose from including wine, gluten-free beer, cider, vodka, gin, rum, and tequila. Just beware of malt beverages and liqueurs that contain gluten.
Are gluten-free products available at regular grocery stores?
Gluten-free foods are becoming more widely available at regular grocers. However, specialty stores still offer the largest selection of reputable gluten-free brands and products.
Is soy sauce gluten-free?
No, regular soy sauce contains wheat and is not safe. Tamari is a gluten-free alternative. Always verify the label, as some tamari contains wheat too.
Can I still eat out at restaurants on a gluten-free diet?
Yes, but do research beforehand on the restaurant’s gluten-free options. Ask a lot of questions when you order and request food be prepared to avoid cross-contact.
How is gluten-free flour different than regular flour?
Gluten-free flours have a different texture and absorbency. Gluten-free baked goods are lighter and more crumbly. Using binders like xanthan gum can help mimic gluten’s effects.
Following a gluten-free diet takes dedication, but can provide major health improvements for those with gluten intolerances. Thankfully, there are endless naturally gluten-free foods to build a well-balanced diet around including fruits, veggies, meat, dairy, beans, nuts, seeds, and gluten-free whole grains. Refer to this guide for a thorough overview of what foods contain gluten, simple swaps, and tips for going 100% gluten-free. With proper planning and diligent label reading, you’ll be a gluten-free pro in no time!