If you have recently been diagnosed with celiac disease or an intolerance to gluten, your doctor has probably recommended avoiding all foods that contain gluten. Knowing which foods do and do not have gluten can mean a huge difference in the quality of your life.

Gluten is a protein naturally found in wheat, barley, and rye. Because gluten is found in these grains, any products using these ingredients should be avoided. There is also the possibility of cross-contamination; many experts advise those following a gluten-free diet to also avoid oats, which may have come in contact with gluten during processing.

Foods containing gluten include many baked goods: bags, biscuits, bread, cake, cereal, breaded foods, crackers, ice cream cones, and pasta are some of the many foods containing gluten. Most people aren’t all that surprised to learn that many baked goods contain gluten since gluten is found in flour. But grains are also used as thickeners, natural flavorings, and for many other purposes. Foods containing gluten include beer, many types of candies, bologna and cold cuts, soup broth and canned soup, chocolate milk, chewing gum, potato chips, salad dressing, and soy sauce.

The tricky part for those following a gluten-free diet is recognizing these sources of ‘hidden’ gluten. Legally, the presence of wheat must be noted on food labels, but other forms of gluten may be present without a warning label. To avoid gluten, read the ingredient list, watching for mentions of barley, binders, bulgur, edible starch, emulsifiers, hydrolyzed plant or vegetable protein, malt flavoring, modified food starch, MSG, “natural” flavor, and wheat. These are some of the ingredients that can indicate the presence of gluten in food.

While the list of foods containing gluten is long, thankfully there is a growing list of companies specializing in gluten-free foods, including many baked goods previously off-limit to those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

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