Understanding Alternative Gluten Terms and Ingredients, Part 1

At GF Bakers, we’re proud to provide Mrs. Hewitt’s fantastic recipes and products for numerous gluten-free breads, desserts and baking items. In addition to providing a variety of high-quality gluten-free products, we’re dedicated to helping those who are gluten-free – from Celiac patients to those with minor gluten intolerances or even those who simply desire no gluten in their diet – find and source ideal ingredients.

Unfortunately, the food and ingredient industries as a whole are not entirely receptive to the full range of gluten ingredients and issues they cause. Specifically, there are several alternate terms that might be used for gluten ingredients, or certain common ingredients that may not necessarily include the word “gluten” but almost always contain it. This two-part blog series will go over everything you need to know in this realm, ensuring you have the right tools and knowledge to maintain a gluten-free lifestyle.

Understanding “Gluten-Free”

For starters, it’s vital for those following such a lifestyle to understand that the term “gluten-free” on many food and product labels does not actually mean there is zero gluten in that product. In reality, this just means that an acceptable level of gluten is present in the item – gluten is not considered a food allergen, meaning manufacturers are not required to disclose it on their labels unless it’s a wheat product.

For this reason, it’s vital to understand alternative terminology for gluten and common ingredients that often contain it. Our next several sections will focus on important factors within this realm.

Alternative Gluten Terminology

Firstly, here are several other Latin terms that may be used for wheat, barley and rye products, all of which contain gluten even if it’s not explicitly mentioned:

  • Triticum vulgare (wheat)
  • Triticale (mixture of wheat and rye)
  • Triticum spelta (spelt, form of wheat)
  • Hordeum vulgare (barley)
  • Secale cereale (rye)

Ingredients Certain to Contain Gluten

In addition, here are several specific food ingredients you’ll find on labels that are virtually certain to contain gluten:

  • Wheat protein, wheat starch or hydrolyzed versions of either
  • Wheat, bread or bleached flour
  • Couscous (made from wheat)
  • Bulgur (form of wheat)
  • Malt (made from barley)
  • Farina (made from wheat)
  • Pasta (made from wheat unless indicated otherwise)
  • Wheat or barley grass (for cross-contamination reasons)
  • Seitan (a common vegetarian ingredient made from wheat gluten)
  • Wheat germ oil or extract (for cross-contamination reasons)

If you see any of these specific ingredients or food items on a package you’re considering purchasing, they should be avoided. This is particularly true for those with Celiac disease and major sensitivity to gluten, even in trace amounts.

For more on identifying and avoiding gluten ingredients in food, or to learn about any of our gluten-free baking products or services, speak to the staff at GF Bakers today.

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