How to Identify Gluten Free Grains
If you are following a gluten-free diet, it is important to be able to correctly identify gluten-free grains while grocery shopping, cooking, and eating. Follow these steps to learn how to tell a gluten-free grain product from one that may contain gluten.
Memorize a Gluten-Free Grain List
If you are eating a gluten-free diet due to a gluten allergy or sensitivity, it is essential to memorize the names of grains that contain gluten. Until you have committed the names to memory, it may be best to grocery shop with a pocket size list of gluten-free grains and particular grains that should be avoided. Having a list on-hand or memorized will also help you eat safely at restaurants and as a house guest.
Learn what grains and other foods that are made into flours are generally gluten-free.A gluten-free diet does not have to mean a grain-free diet. Many grains are safe to eat provided they are not processed, preserved, or mixed with grains that contain gluten.
- Unless there is a warning regarding wheat allergies or cross-contamination on the package, products containing amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat, corn and cornmeal, flax, hominy, millet, quinoa, rice, sorghum, soy, tapioca, and teff are typically safe to eat.
- Flour made of beans, corn, potato, rice, tapioca and soy are usually gluten-free. Just be sure to review the package prior to purchase to ensure that the product has not been cross-contaminated or processed with other grains.
Memorize a list of grains containing gluten.Always avoid food and drinks that contain barley, rye, triticale, and wheat.
- Other wheat products to avoid include bulgur, durum flour, farina, graham flour, kamut, semolina, and spelt.
Remember which grain-based products often contain gluten.Many common grain-based products contain gluten unless specifically labeled “gluten-free.”
- Unless you can be sure the product is gluten-free, avoid beer, crackers, cake, bread, pasta, cookies and other baked goods, seasoned snack foods, flavored rice or potato products, sauces, gravies, cereals, croutons, and candies – even if you do not expect the product to contain grains. Seasonings often contain gluten, so it’s not only the grains to watch out for.
Read Food Packages Carefully
Many grain products are naturally gluten-free, but it is important to be able to identify gluten-free grains without such labels as well. Understanding ingredient labels and making use of other tips on the packaging can be essential to safe shopping and eating.
Look for a “Gluten-Free” label.Most packages of food will have a label that identifies them as gluten-free if the manufacturer is certain that the item does not contain gluten.
- When buying flour, pasta, crackers, breads, and other grain products, selecting only products that have a specific “gluten-free” label will ensure that you do not accidentally purchase a grain with gluten.
Read ingredient lists.If a grain product does not have a specific “gluten-free” label, you may still be able to safely consume it if you read the ingredient list carefully and find no evidence of gluten or gluten contamination.
- Gluten is found in many grains and has multiple names. If a product contains any amount of a grain that contains gluten, do not buy or eat the product to be on the safe side.
- Do not purchase products that contain ingredients such as enriched flour, self-rising flour, phosphated or bromated flour, white or plain flour, or malt, as these contain gluten unless specifically labeled otherwise.
Search for allergy warnings.Some products may have a sentence near the ingredient list that names potential allergens, such as peanuts, eggs, or milk. Do not buy a product if it names wheat or gluten under the warning, even if a grain with gluten is not listed among the ingredients.
- In some cases, a warning label may state that the food may have been processed in a facility that processes products with gluten. Gluten contamination may be enough to cause illness in the case of true gluten sensitivity or allergy and should be avoided.
- Careful examination of ingredient lists can spare you considerable discomfort by helping you identify potential sources of gluten in your diet before consumption. When in doubt as to whether a grain product contains gluten, do not purchase or consume it.
- Oats are frequently contaminated with gluten and should be avoided. In some cases, “pure” oats can be truly gluten-free, but many people still experience negative reactions after consuming oat products that are supposedly uncontaminated with gluten.
Video: What Really Happens To Your Body When You Go Gluten Free
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