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Uncovering the Hidden Sources of Gluten

Gluten is a sneaky ingredient that can be lurking in unexpected places. While wheat, barley, and rye are obvious sources, you may be surprised to find gluten hiding in other spots. Salad dressings, soups, sauces, even lip products can contain gluten, derived from ingredients like malt vinegar or hydrolyzed wheat protein. Your morning protein shake or post-workout recovery drink? Potential sources. Soy sauce, spice blends, flavored coffees - gluten can pop up where you least expect it. Reading labels is crucial. Being an informed, vigilant shopper is key to knowing exactly what's in your food and avoiding the digestive distress that gluten can cause. Stay aware and keep this stealth source of gluten on your radar, even when browsing aisles far from the bread section. Read on to learn about other places that you need to be aware of:


Blurred photo of a grocery store aisle with a label print of "hidden gluten" in the foreground.

PHARMACEUTICALS Celiac patients must take great care when taking medications, as gluten lurks in surprising places. While most pharmaceuticals today are gluten-free, a handful still contain the problematic protein. Without proper labeling requirements, there is no way to know for certain if a medication is safe. To err on the side of caution, those with celiac disease should verify that any oral prescription is gluten-free before taking it. By double-checking with pharmacists and physicians, celiac patients can help ensure they avoid hidden sources of gluten and take care of their health.


TOOTHPASTE

Gluten-free shoppers, read those toothpaste labels carefully! Many popular brands sneak hidden gluten into their formulas. How? Through sneaky thickening agents and "natural flavors."

Even if a toothpaste claims to be gluten-free, it may contain hydrolyzed wheat or barley derivatives like triticum vulgare. Or it could include oat-derived avena sativa. Cross-contact is also a concern, as most facilities process both gluten and gluten-free products.

The worst offender? Those innocent-sounding "natural flavors." More often than not, they are crafted from glutenous barley malt. So they aren't gluten-free at all!

To keep your smile gluten-free, scrutinize each ingredient in your toothpaste. Avoid thickeners made from wheat, barley, rye or oats. And beware of "natural flavors" that may hide gluten inside. With careful label reading, you can keep your grin gleaming and gluten-free! For those seeking gluten-free options for their oral care routine, rest assured there are quality ADA-approved toothpaste brands that fit the bill. Rather than compromise on your dental health or settle for subpar products, you can turn to trusted names like Tom's of Maine, Crest, Colgate Total, and Biotene. These brands offer the cleaning power you expect from traditional toothpastes, but without the gluten. With their ADA seal of acceptance, you can brush confidently knowing these toothpastes have passed rigorous safety and efficacy testing. Say goodbye to gluten and hello to a bright, healthy smile - you've got great choices waiting for you on the drugstore shelf. *Always check ingredients, even on these 4 brands, as companies can change processing practices and ingredients.


OVER THE COUNTER MEDICATIONS

When grabbing that bottle of over-the-counter medicine, take a moment to check the label. Most OTC meds are gluten-free, but some contain sneaky sources of gluten as thickeners, fiber boosters, or colorings. Keep an eye out for these ingredients - they could indicate gluten:

- Wheat

- Modified starch (if the source isn't listed)

- Pregelatinized starch (if the source isn't listed)

- Pregelatinized modified starch (if the source isn't listed)

- Dextrates (if the source isn't listed)

- Dextrin (unless the source is corn or potato)

- Dextrimaltose (if from barley malt)

- Caramel coloring (if from barley malt)

If you spot any of those on the label, investigate further to confirm the ingredients are gluten-free before taking the medicine. Stay vigilant and keep yourself healthy!


TEAS & TEA BAGS

The Camellia Sinensis plant is the source of most teas we drink. Happily, the plant itself contains no gluten. The problems arise when other ingredients are added during processing and packaging. Tea bags, often made from paper, nylon, or plastic, are sealed with glues or by melting the materials together. Unfortunately, some manufacturers use a wheat-based paste to seal their bags (some say this is no longer true, but do your research on the product you use). So if you prefer bagged tea, contact the company to ask how they seal the bags. You may need to switch to loose leaf tea and use a separate filter instead. Even then, double check that no gluten sneaked into the tea leaves during processing. Cross-contact in factories is a common culprit. If a line was used for gluten-containing foods before a batch of tea, traces could make their way into your cup. So stay vigilant, but don't despair. With care, you can still enjoy a steaming gluten-free cuppa. The Republic of Tea is one company that offers several flavorful teas that are certified gluten free: https://www.republicoftea.com/


NUT MIXES

Stop in your tracks before grabbing that seemingly safe bag of nuts from the bulk bins! Even though nuts themselves don't contain gluten, nut mixes often pick up traces of it through cross-contact during processing and packaging. The culprit? Those enticing flavorings like honey roasted or chili lime. Their irresistible allure draws in gluten from other factory equipment and ingredients. So be vigilant. Scan labels, call manufacturers if needed, and know that any bulk nut purchase is high risk. With care and caution, you can still enjoy nuts safely. We've got your back in the battle against hidden gluten!


Discover some unexpected sources of gluten with this compilation of lesser-known places where it can be found. Familiarize yourself with reliable brands and products, and maintain a record of trustworthy manufacturers. Stay vigilant by consistently reading labels, as companies may alter their safety protocols and ingredients without prior notification.


If you or someone you care for is struggling with a gluten free lifestyle it may be beneficial to consult with our expert nutritionist to get on the path to better health. Fill out a brief health questionnaire and we'll schedule a personalized consultation to address your wellness goals.

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