Surprising Foods That Are Not Always Gluten-Free

Rachael Pfenninger, Contributing Writer
These days, many of us are going gluten-free. Whether you just want to feel better or you’re struggling with a particular medical issue, eliminating gluten from your diet can have all sorts of positive effects on your body. For many, getting rid of gluten leads to less gas, diarrhea, stomachaches, less sensitive skin, better sleeping habits and just a better overall sense of being.
However, giving up gluten can be hard on anyone, especially if you’re a bread lover! I know that I’ve been gluten-free for 6 years now, and even though I love it, it can be tough for sure. But what I’ve learned is that going gluten-free isn’t just about avoiding bread – gluten can really be in everything from soy sauce and beer to chocolate and pickles.
So if you’re ready to take a gluten-free diet seriously, I'm here to tell you that you can do it – but there are some things you need to know. Read below to see my list of surprising foods that are not always gluten-free!
Soy Sauce: There's a pesky little thing called soy sauce that you’ve probably heard of. You would think that soy sauce is made mostly from soy, right? Well, it’s not! Soy sauce actually contains about 40-60% fermented wheat. Because this ingredient is used in so many foods, this is a big one to use carefully.
Barley Malt Syrup: You might not have heard of this ingredient, but you’ve probably consumed it at some point. Often used in fermenting pickles, protein bars and protein shakes, this surprisingly pervasive ingredient is actually sugar-derived from wheat.
Malt Vinegar: Best known for sprinkling on French fries, malt vinegar is also used for sticky rice in sushi – which means that even though sticky rice is often gluten-free by itself, it might not be when prepared at a restaurant. Make sure you ask at any restaurant before chowing down that sushi.
Hot dogs, meatballs and sausage: Hot dogs, meatballs and sausage all often contain modified food starch, sauces and/or additives that can all include gluten. When you pick up one of these items, make sure you ask LOTS of questions if you’re trying to avoid gluten completely.
Vitamin Supplements: Although vitamin supplements aren’t normally a “food”, they are items that we consume constantly. Unfortunately, many vitamin supplements use binding agents that often contain gluten. If you have a stock of vitamins you take often, make sure they say they’re gluten-free before popping them in your mouth.
Curry spices: If you’re a lover of Indian food, this one might bum you out. Curry spices, often used in preparing Indian and other kinds of international foods, sometimes contain gluten. Lucky for you, that doesn’t mean you have to give it up completely! Check out this list of 50 gluten-free curries that you can make yourself.
Although I’ve been gluten free now for 6 years, the first year was definitely the hardest. My biggest tip to anyone interested in lifestyle is to ask lots of questions when you eat out and to read labels really carefully.
Whether your ready to go cold turkey or try gluten-free items one at a time, remember to go easy on yourself. Eliminating gluten can be a great lifestyle change, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Good luck!
The above article is a guest post provided by Jayme Foxx, TV Host for CMT’s Tattoo Titans & passionate follower of the gluten-free lifestyle. You can get more information about her and what she’s up to by visiting or following her on Twitter @JaymeFoxx.