Following a gluten-free diet can be difficult at first because it takes a while to figure out which foods are safe. I’ve been gluten-free for years and still get caught out occasionally because gluten is sometimes present in unexpected foods.

To avoid the awful feeling you get when you’ve been glutened, always check the ingredients on these foods:

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1. Soup


Soup certainly isn’t one of the first things that comes to mind when you think about items that contain gluten, but many manufacturers add wheat flour to soups in order to thicken the consistency. Annoying, I know. There are plenty of soups that are gluten-free though so just check the ingredients before you put it into your basket.

2. Sauces/gravy

sauce-with-glaze-brushIf you’re a fan of adding a sauce to your meals you may want to think again. As with soup, many sauces also contain wheat flour to thicken them. This is frustrating for anyone who loves a dressing on their salad, or a thick sauce on their steak, but there are a few gluten-free sauces available so don’t panic.

Soy sauce is also a commonly overlooked item that contains gluten so look for the gluten-free options available. Gravy also often contains wheat flour so always check the ingredients list…this includes bouillon cubes too.

3. Liquorice


This may sound crazy but liquorice does actually contain gluten. The dreaded wheat flour is also added to liquorice to bind the confectionery. So if you’re a fan of this and have been confused as to why you’ve been getting glutened, it’s worth checking the ingredients list on the pack.

4. Sushi

sushi-on-a-plateI used to think that sushi was safe; it’s just meat, rice and seaweed after all. Sadly, although all of those ingredients are naturally gluten-free, when made into sushi, gluten is added to them!

The rice commonly used in sushi is typically exposed to soy sauce, which contains gluten, and the crab meat is often processed meat which uses wheat to mimic the texture of the crab. There are sushi restaurants that offer gluten-free meals though so you may be able to eat these, but always be very careful to check for cross contamination issues.

5. Processed meats

hot-dogs-processed-meatIt’s not only processed crab meat that contains gluten; many other processed meats are also something you need to avoid on a gluten-free diet. This includes, but is not limited to, hot dogs, pepperoni, salami and even pate, because wheat flour is often added to them to create the desired texture. I usually find it safer to stick with unprocessed meats.

6. Burgers and sausages

bbq-burgers-and-sausagesThese both seem like they would be safe, don’t they? Unfortunately they are usually made using breadcrumbs to bind the mixture together and give the meat a “better” texture. Don’t worry, you are still able to enjoy both of these items on your barbecues this summer as there are plenty of gluten-free alternatives. Phew!

7. Medication and vitamins

vitamins-and-medicationThe majority of medications and vitamins are gluten-free (and state that on the box), but there are some which will catch you out. Be sure to check with your doctor or the pharmacist before you start taking any new tablets/capsules.

8. Pickles/gherkins

pickled-gherkins-in-jarPickles are (sorry for the obvious) pickled in a jar containing a pickling liquid. This liquid is usually made with malt vinegar…which contains barley…which contains gluten. I had to find this out the hard way, so be sure to avoid pickles, unless the jar states they are gluten-free.

9. Alcohol

crate-of-beer-bottlesDon’t panic, not ALL alcohol contains gluten, but there are a number of beverages you should avoid to be safe from getting glutened.

Whisky is a big no-no because it’s made from fermented grain, which often includes barley, rye or wheat…all of which contain gluten. According to Jameson’s website, at the time of writing this, their whiskey is gluten-free, but I can’t comment on this as I’ve never tried it.

Beer/lager is traditionally made from malted barley or malted wheat and, as both of these contain gluten, it’s not safe to drink. There are plenty of gluten-free alternatives available though.

There are a variety of other alcoholic drinks with controversy around them but these are the two main culprits. If you’re considering drinking any “alcopops” then (you guessed it) always check the ingredients list to be safe.

10. Hot chocolate

hot-chocolate-with-marshmallowsSome hot chocolate mixes are safe for a gluten-free diet but this is an area where it’s easy to get glutened because you just wouldn’t think that gluten would be present!

Unfortunately the dreaded wheat flour strikes again as many manufacturers add this to their products to thicken the hot chocolate. There are plenty of gluten-free mixes available though so you don’t have to face a future without hot chocolate.

11. Flavoured rice

flavoured-riceRice is naturally gluten-free so most rice is safe for a gluten-free diet. However, flavoured rice often has gluten added to it in the flavouring to thicken the coating, so always check the ingredients on any rice…just in case there’s any flavouring added.

Unsure if you have gluten intolerance? Check out my recent article to find out the symptoms.

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