How Can I Protect Myself from Hidden Wheat/Gluten in My Food?

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Whether you’re trying a new diet or have been diagnosed with an allergy, you may be overwhelmed by trying to live a gluten and wheat free life. Sadly, gluten and wheat are hidden in a number of foods that you would never expect. Whether it’s gummy bears or processed meats, you need to pay close attention to the foods you purchase. Let’s take a closer look at protecting yourself from wheat/gluten.

Know the Ingredients to Avoid

There are a number of ingredients you need to avoid in packaged foods. These are ingredients that are added to thicken or flavor the food. The following ingredients should be avoided in order to meet your dietary guidelines: hydrolyzed plant protein, natural and artificial flavorings (made of barley, malt, or rye), spices that contain a binding agent, starches, and dextrin. In the past, there were a number of other ingredients that were labeled as being dangerous for those on a gluten-free diet. These included maltodextrin, glucose syrup, caramel coloring, citric acid, and distilled vinegars and have now been deemed safe. The only exception is malt vinegar.

Research Your Options When Eating Out

When eating out, you need to research your options. A quick view of chain restaurant websites will help you determine which foods are gluten and wheat free. Small, local restaurants may not have a website, but you can still contact the restaurants to see if they offer gluten and wheat free options. If you’ll be dining at a friend’s house, mention your dietary guidelines. You may need to fully explain what these guidelines entail.

Being Prepared

Lastly, you can protect yourself from wheat and gluten by being prepared. Being stuck in traffic or at the office longer than expected may leave your stomach rumbling. Thankfully, there are a number of snack bars that can be purchased online and in health food stores that are wheat and gluten free. You may also want to keep some take-out menus of your favorite gluten and wheat free restaurants in your desk at work. This will allow you to order a delicious meal without the worry.

Dietary changes are never easy to deal with, but things become even more complicated when you discover that foods can have hidden dangers. Take the time to learn which ingredients to avoid so that your grocery shopping trips are safer. Also, take the time to research the restaurants in your area to find those that offer wheat and gluten free dishes. Last, but not least, be prepared. There will be times when you get stuck at work and need a snack to tide you over until dinnertime.

About the Author: Ewa Tamblyn has suffered from a wheat allergy since she was born and knows how tough it can be to find foods without it. She currently works as a nutrition counselor and is going to school to become an ultrasound technician. Visit for more information about rewarding healthcare careers.


  1. I’m very glad that I don’t have this allergy, but it’s nice that there is a lot more awareness about it these days.

  2. My friend struggles with this as well, but she makes it work.

  3. I can’t imagine what having a wheat allergy would’ve been like a decade ago. Nowadays there are gluten-free options available at tons of places.

  4. As someone who is trying to learn the ins and outs of being gluten free, this information comes at the perfect time.

  5. Good info! Thanks for sharing

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