How Can I Avoid Hidden Sources of Gluten? | Ask the Dietitians - Clean Eating Magazine

How Can I Avoid Hidden Sources of Gluten?

I'm avoiding gluten, and I hear that packaged products can contain hidden sources of it. How do I know what to look for on labels?

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Gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, is added to a variety of packaged products for use as a thickener, stabilizer or simply for color. This is a major problem for people who have gluten sensitivities or allergies, since gluten-containing ingredients can go by many different names on the product package. Your best bet in preventing a flare-up resulting from gluten is to be aware of the many terms gluten hides behind. Some of the most common are: malt, barley malt, malt vinegar, textured vegetable protein (TVP), hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP), monosodium glutamate (MSG), natural flavor, artificial flavor, dextrin, vegetable gum, smoke flavor, germ, brewer’s yeast, groats, emulsifiers, filler, modified food starch, bulgur, durum, spelt, triticale, farina, graham flour, Kamut, matzah, semolina and wheat berries. Watch out for gluten in oats and vitamin supplements, too – while these are gluten-free on their own, they're often cross-contaminated with gluten, so look for products specifically labeled as gluten-free.

Also see A Quick & Easy Guide to Gluten-Free.

Registered dietitians Tiffani Bachus and Erin Macdonald are the co-founders and creators of, a website dedicated to promoting wellness and a healthy, balanced lifestyle.