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Common Sneaky Sources of Gluten

06.09.2021 | by Juvela

Gluten can be found in all sorts of unexpected places, so it’s always worth checking the labels on a product before you buy it. There are some products that commonly contain gluten – find out what they are so you know to double-check the label.

Regardless of whether a product is naturally gluten free, it’s important to check whether it is manufactured in a gluten free environment or if gluten-containing ingredients have been added in. Here's some common products that gluten can hide in. 

  • Jam
  • Chewing Gum
  • Soy Sauce
  • Stock cubes
  • Ready meals
  • Spice Blends and Sauces
  • Crisps
  • Chocolate
  • Gravy
  • Burgers and sausages
  • Ice cream
  • Spiced rum

Spreading jam on a piece of toasted Juvela White Bread is a great way to start the day. However, not all jams will be suitable for people with coeliac disease. Wheat-based ingredients may be used as a thickener, or it may be manufactured in a factory with a risk of cross contamination.
Popular gluten free jam choices in the UK include Bonne Maman and Hartley’s.

Chewing Gum
Chewing gum can contain glucose syrup sourced from wheat. Although you don't swallow gum, you may still ingest enough of the flavouring to cause a reaction if the gum contains gluten. If the chewing gum is sweetened with glucose syrup sourced from wheat or has a “may contain” warning, then it isn’t suitable for coeliacs.

Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is essentially fermented soy and wheat, which contains gluten. But don’t worry – tamari soy sauce is a naturally gluten free variety made without wheat, so you can substitute soy sauce for tamari in your favourite recipes.

Stock cubes
Stock cubes are essential for homemade gravies and adding flavour to all kinds of dishes. They are occasionally made with wheat flour, which usually serves as a thickener.
OXO Cubes are a popular brand of stock cubes that contain gluten and should be avoided, but the Oxo Stock Pots are all gluten free. All varieties of Knorr Stock Cubes and Stock Pots are gluten free and suitable for coeliacs. However, always check the label as ingredients can change! You can also try making your own stock.

Ready meals
Ready meals are a common culprit for hidden gluten – unless a supermarket has a dedicated range of gluten free ready meals, they’re best avoided.

Spice Blends and Sauces
Pre-mixed spice blends and read-made sauces can contain ingredients such as wheat flour or wheat starch. Always check the label on a ready-made product and if in doubt, make your own from scratch.

Although potatoes are naturally gluten free, not all crisps are made in a gluten free environment, making them unsafe for people with coeliac disease. Some crisps have flavourings and coatings that use wheat flour too, so it's always a good idea to check the label to be sure.

Surprisingly, not all chocolate is gluten free. Plain and simple chocolate without many ingredients may be gluten free, however gluten-containing ingredients are commonly added to chocolate. Obvious sources of gluten in chocolate can be wafers, biscuits or crunchy pieces. 

Ready-made gravy can contain gluten - check the label for any "may contain warnings" as it may include wheat or have been cross contaminated in the manufacturing process. Keep an eye out for specific gluten free products as popular brands such as Bisto offer a gluten free gravy. Alternatively, upgrade your Sunday Toast with homemade gravy.

Burgers and sausages
Burgers and sausages sometimes contain wheat rusk, so look for specific gluten free options.

Ice cream
Dairy may be gluten free, but the other things that can be added into ice cream can make it unsuitable for coeliacs. Read more about gluten in ice cream here. 

Spiced rum
Spirits are generally considered to be gluten free. If they have been made with a cereal that contains gluten, the distillation process is usually enough to remove any traces of gluten. However, there are times when spirits can contain gluten due to added ingredients. Spiced rum is an example - the flavourings and additives added after the distilling process may contain gluten. Always check the label to be safe!

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