Nourishing Your Body for Better Health
Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Gluten…Seriously?

Happy Summertime!

There has been a lot in the press about a new study showing that many probiotic supplements contain gluten, even probiotics marked gluten-free on the label. Some contain more than the 20ppm, which is illegal. Obviously there’s a lot of concern, and Columbia University’s Celiac disease program has declined to share a list of the problematic probiotics. I personally think that’s highly regretful, especially given the FDA’s inability to regularly monitor supplements unless there is a specific, reported cause for concern. If this is something important to you, I’d encourage you to support Gluten-Free Watchdog. As many of you know, GFWD tests products for gluten, and they are currently raising funds to test probiotics for gluten, too.

It got me thinking about the sources of gluten that are less obvious. Most gluten-free veterans know all about the usual suspects, like soy sauce, vegetarian “burgers”, communion wafers, etc. If you or a family member need a review of label reading and a roundup of the rules, check out this new article in Simply Gluten-Free Magazine. Here are some products that people sometimes overlook:

Chocolate:lindt

Yes, chocolate.  It says on the Lindt chocolate bag that it contains barley malt, but when the truffles are individually wrapped and at the cash register, there’s no label to read. It’s easy to grab one without thinking.

And then there are companies like Godiva, which says directly on their website: “Does your chocolate contain gluten? ALL of our products including solid chocolate pieces may contain gluten. Any person with a gluten allergy should NOT consume ANY of our products.”

Well, fine then. There are a ton of gluten-free chocolate  fish in the sea….

Fudgesicles:fudgesicle

It’s summertime! Who doesn’t remember enjoying a fudgesicle on a hot day? Unfortunately many have malt powder. Since it says “malt powder” and doesn’t say “barley malt”, sometimes people miss it. Gotta say I love these from So Delicious, and I haven’t made the recipe from Elana’s Pantry yet, but plan to soon!

Tea: stomach ease

Because clearly the remedy for tummy troubles is a cup ‘o gluten. Believe it or not, a tea called “stomach ease” has barley malt. Often we assume that tea is just tea. Remember to double check!

Vitamins: These are New Chapter Brand multivitamins, and they’re marked vitamin minigluten-free. But…it says “Contains: Fermented soy and fermented wheat”. Huh? According to the FDA, “FDA is aware that sandwich ELISA methods do not adequately detect gluten in fermented and hydrolyzed foods. Because scientifically valid methods currently are lacking that can do so, we intend to issue a proposed rule on this issue.” To be clear, I don’t know if this product does or does not contain residual gluten. Until equipment can actually determine if there’s gluten in fermented foods, a product containing fermented wheat is a risk, and I recommend against it.

OTC medicationsadvil

Do you read labels when you’ve got a migraine? Most people are lucky if they can see straight, much less read labels. Advil Migraine contains gluten per their website, and it’s a good reminder to read labels for your OTC medications BEFORE you actually need them…Glutenfreedrugs.com is a fantastic resource.

Oats:bear nakednew

According to the research, pure, gluten-free oats are usually tolerated. If the package doesn’t say “gluten-free”, it’s a no-go. Lots more on the oat situation here.

Look alikes…

And then there are all of those lookalike products that have gluten-free and gluten-full products, like Rudi’s, Mi-del, Amy’s, Dr. Praeger, Evol, etc. It’s really easy to grab the wrong one.

This is just a short list, these are absolutely not the only products that trip people up from time to time. What products have you found that are surprising sources of gluten?

Harris Whole Health offers individual sessions and group classes to help people eat healthier and feel better! Cheryl works with people to feel and look their best with a range of specialties, including Celiac Disease, food allergies, pregnancy, breastfeeding, vegetarian and vegan diets, preventing diseases and “whole foods” eating. Let’s get you on your way to achieving your goals. For an appointment with Cheryl Harris, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, please click here, email or call 571-271-8742

3 Comments on “Gluten…Seriously?”

  1. sue

    Thanks for a great short and sweet newsletter. Yes, the chocolate irks me. It could so easily be gf, but so often it isn’t. But before you grab a bar, we should also mention that a lot of chocolates are made by the “pour over” method, where the a vat of liquid chocolate is poured over candy, fruit, or pretzel pieces to coat them. The liquid that drips off is collected and returned to the vat, which continues to pour the chocolate over more pieces. I mention this so others will be aware that chocolate covered pieces are often not gf because of the contamination from the pretzel pour overs whose drippings are then returned to the vat. What seems to be gf, and could easily be gf, in fact oftentimes is not. So check carefully w the manufacturer. And of course there is also the business of the chocolate molds sometimes being dusted w flour so the chocolates turn out well.


  2. Sue,
    The chocolate posts contain detailed manufacturer info. Agreed that it’s important to check!


  3. […] GF ingredients. And as always, check labels to avoid surprises. A surprising number of chocolates contain traces of gluten, including Lindt, Ghiradelli, Godiva and many of the Trader Joe’s options. I’ve got […]

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