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17 Foods you didn’t know contain gluten

We all know sticking to a gluten-free diet means avoiding grains, but there’s actually a lot more to it than that.

Gluten can sneak up on you from some unexpected sources — and these 17 foods are the proof. Watch your labels carefully to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

1. Soy sauce

There’s a lot more in your soy sauce than beans — and that probably includes wheat. Stick to tamari sauce, which is naturally gluten-free, instead. Be wary of sauces and marinades, including those served at restaurants, because soy sauce is often an ingredient.

2. Gravy

Of course, homemade gravy is thickened with flour, but you might not realize that those easy little ready-to-mix gravy packets also contain gluten. Stick to the homemade version and use corn starch as a thickener.

3. Bouillon cubes

Premixed spice packets are usually pretty gluten-heavy and bouillon cubes are no exception. Skip the cubes and make your own broth instead.

4. Processed meats

Processed meats like sausages, meatballs, bologna, hot dogs and preformed hamburger patties are usually held together by non-gluten-free products. Check labels carefully before purchasing these products.

5. Deli meats

Deli meats themselves may not contain gluten, but they may be cross-contaminated by the slicer. Most deli counters also contain processed meats like bologna and are usually sliced using the same equipment. If you can’t skip that packet of freshly sliced turkey, ask the person at the counter if they have a dedicated gluten-free slicer.

6. Soups

The canned soup aisle is full of hidden gluten. You know to avoid the soups with noodles, but creamy soups are often thickened with wheat products, and broths are often filled with gluten, as well.

7. Pickles

No, the pickles themselves don’t contain gluten, but the pickling process often involves malt-vinegar, which you probably know is often gluten-heavy.

8. French fries

Say it isn’t so! French fries on their own are safe — they’re just innocent potatoes. But if you’re ordering them from a restaurant, they may be dusted with flour or fried in the same oil as breaded items, which kind of ruins the whole gluten-free thing.

9. Eggs and omelets from restaurants

Ever wonder how your favorite restaurant gets their eggs so dang fluffy? There’s a good chance they mix in some pancake batter. Double-check before you place your order.

10. Vegetarian meats

Many vegetarian-friendly meats use wheat products as binders. Check your label to make sure those meat-free products are gluten-free, too.

11. Salad dressing

You may want to find an alternative for your favorite salad dressing. Many dressings use gluten in some form as a thickener.

12. Pudding

Yep, you guessed it. Some puddings use wheat as a thickener. Are you seeing a pattern here? Fortunately, there are some brands that use gluten-free thickeners, so your pudding-eating days aren’t completely over.

13. Ice cream

The ice cream probably doesn’t have gluten, but the extra ingredients definitely might. If you’re gluten-free, check the labels carefully before you indulge in your favorite cookie dough or brownie batter flavors, just to name a few.

14. Crab

You probably don’t realize how often imitation crab is used in place of the real deal in recipes, but it happens more than you might think. Imitation crab looks and tastes a lot like real crab — unfortunately, it doesn’t share its gluten-free qualities.

15. Butter

Plain-old butter is gluten-free, but real butter is hard to come by these days. Many brands use additives that contain gluten, so again, check your labels.

16. Medications and vitamins

Many of these use products containing gluten as a binding agent. Talk to your pharmacist before taking any new medicines, vitamins or supplements.

17. Lipstick

OK, so you don’t eat your lipstick (we hope), but there’s a good chance some of it gets in your mouth when you eat or lick your lips. Many beauty products contain gluten for a number of reasons, sometimes in just trace amounts. If you have a serious gluten sensitivity, even that small amount might be enough to give you symptoms.

This post was brought to you by Chex.

More on gluten-free living

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10 Things only gluten-free people understand
6 Questions to ask before you go gluten-free

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