18. Exploring lesser-known gluten-containing ingredients in processed foods
When following a gluten-free diet, it’s important to be aware of the various ingredients that may contain hidden sources of gluten. While many people are familiar with common culprits like wheat, barley, and rye, there are several lesser-known ingredients that can also cause issues for those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
One such ingredient is maltodextrin, which is often used as a thickener or sweetener in processed foods. It is typically derived from corn, rice, or potatoes and is generally considered safe for those on a gluten-free diet. However, it’s crucial to check the label carefully as some brands may use maltodextrin derived from wheat.
Another sneaky source of gluten is hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), which is commonly found in soups, sauces, and snack foods. HVP can be made from various plant sources but sometimes contains hydrolyzed wheat protein as well. Reading food labels diligently will help you identify if this ingredient poses a risk.
Modified food starch can also be problematic as it may come from wheat unless specifically labeled as “gluten-free.” This ingredient is commonly used as a thickening agent in gravies and sauces.
Other lesser-known sources of gluten include dextrin (which may be made from either corn or wheat), caramel coloring (which can sometimes contain barley-derived malt flavoring), and natural flavors (which might contain hidden sources of gluten).
By educating yourself about these lesser-known ingredients that may contain gluten, you’ll become more adept at navigating the grocery store aisles and making informed choices about the products you consume. Always read labels carefully and opt for certified gluten-free products whenever possible to ensure your dietary needs are met safely and effectively.