20 Ingredients to Avoid if You’re Living Gluten-Free

Reading food labels is difficult on its own and even more so if you’re one of the 2 million people in the United States who has celiac disease. Avoiding gluten and gluten-containing ingredients is the cornerstone of living well with celiac disease and avoiding complications. This means reading food labels and steering clear of the many foods that contain gluten, including some foods you’d least expect. 

Receiving a celiac disease diagnosis can feel overwhelming. Gluten may also trigger symptoms in patients who have other digestive disorders, such as Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome. 

Rest assured that transitioning to a gluten-free diet may seem challenging in the beginning, but once you’re familiar with the foods you need to avoid, it becomes easier to live without gluten. 

The team at Illinois Gastroenterology Group put together this guide to help patients living gluten-free to know what ingredients to steer clear of. If you’re not sure where to start, check out these 20 ingredients that you need to avoid if you’re following a gluten-free lifestyle.

The big three

The three major ingredients that contain gluten are:

These foods in all of their forms contain gluten. Because many packaged foods contain one of the many forms of wheat, rye, or barley, and they often go by other names, reading labels isn’t as easy as checking for only these three ingredients.

Red-flag ingredients for gluten-free living

Ingredients derived from wheat, rye, and barley go by many names. Here are 20 of the most common gluten-containing ingredients to avoid. 

Additional ingredients to avoid

In addition to the 20 ingredients on our list, certain ingredients often contain gluten. Watch out for: 

Common foods that contain gluten

Eliminating all sources of gluten from the diet is key. Look out for these gluten-containing foods:

Do I need to avoid oats?

Oats themselves are naturally gluten-free. However, oats are typically manufactured on the same equipment as wheat and other gluten-containing foods, causing cross-contamination. For this reason, commercial oats may contain levels of gluten that are unsafe for patients with celiac disease. 

Oats and oatmeal are high in fiber and heart-healthy. Patients avoiding gluten can still enjoy oats. Some manufacturers take extra steps and adhere to strict gluten-free guidelines to produce oats that have no gluten. These products carry a gluten-free badge on the label, so look for oats and oatmeal that are gluten-free. 

Making the transition to gluten-free living

Making foods at home and building your diet around fresh or frozen gluten-free whole foods is the easiest and simplest way to transition to a gluten-free lifestyle. The following foods are naturally free of gluten and should make up the bulk of your diet:

Our highly-skilled team at Illinois Gastroenterology Group can help you adjust to a gluten-free diet. To learn more, call us to schedule a visit or use the online booking tool to request an appointment. We have offices in Elk Grove and Arlington Heights, Illinois. 

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