7 Surprising Foods that Contain Gluten


When I first considered attempting a gluten-free diet, I thought it would be easy. If I avoided all starchy-looking foods, I’d be good to go, right? Wrong. The more I researched, the more it became clear that wheat has found its way into just about everything I thought was pure. I mean, when you start messing with coffee, then the presence of gluten in our day to day lives is much more threatening than I originally thought. Here are 7 foods that contain gluten, even though you probably thought they were gluten-free.

1. Soy Sauce

Given its name, one may assume soy sauce is made from soy beans, but it often uses wheat when being processed. Regular soy sauce is between 40 percent and 60 percent wheat. Reach for wheat-free brands made with 100 percent soy. San-J and Kikkoman both make a delicious gluten-free product.


2. Pickles

Depending on the brand you purchase, pickles may be produced with gluten on hand. Malt vinegar, which is derived from barley, may be used in the pickling process. Some brands use corn-based vinegar as a gluten-free alternative.

3. Hot Dogs

This goes for all processed meats, sausages and faux meats. Wheat gluten is often used to bind these products together, so read the ingredients label thoroughly.

4. Licorice

You wouldn’t think it takes much to make licorice, but lo’ and behold, wheat flour is a common ingredient. Luckily, you are just one Google search away from a host of gluten-free licorice brands.

Watermelon salad

5. Salad Dressing

Gluten is often used in salad dressings as a thickener. To avoid this pitfall, may your own salad dressing with a mix of olive oil, lemon juice and salt or purchase a gluten-free brand, such as Annie’s Naturals, Newman’s Own, and Maple Grove.

6. Dried Fruit

This one threw me off guard. What could they possibly add to dried fruit that enhances its taste and function that contains gluten? Turns out, it’s not what is added to dried fruit but rather it is processed with that makes them contain gluten. Dried fruit is often processed with grains. Do your research and stick to brands that promise no contact with wheat.


7. Coffee

Stab me in the heart, why don’t you? Coffee is the last suspect I’d expect to pop up on this list, but here we are. Large processors will often use gluten-containing white powder to flour their machines. And while this practice has evolved, if not consuming gluten is something you simply cannot comprise on, contact your local roaster or the coffee company you buy your beans from and get the information you need.

Aylin Erman is founder of GlowKitchen. There she shares step-by-step picture recipes of her plant-based creations. Aylin lives and works in Istanbul as a writer and editor at the country’s first-ever green-living and sustainability platform, Yesilist. Like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter to keep up with food news and recipes.

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Photo Credits:Ben Mason, Palindrome6996, Calgary Reviews, Charles Knowles, The Culinary Geek, Geoff Peters, Lisa Andersson