Gluten-Free Diet - The Biggest Dangers to Avoid

Gluten-Free Diet - The Biggest Dangers to Avoid

Moving to a gluten-free diet isn’t as simple as it might seem. It’s about more than cutting out bread or flour. In fact, there are some items that have gluten that might surprise you. These hidden gluten items can be a big problem if you have a gluten allergy or intolerance. When it comes to a gluten-free diet, these are the biggest dangers to avoid.

Gluten-Free Diet - Hidden Dangers To Watch For

Always research new foods before trying them. Also, make sure to check labels on your old favorites. Sometimes companies will change their manufacturing process and an item that was previously gluten-free may not contain gluten or have a higher risk of cross-contamination. Many companies will have a list of allergens that are in different items they sell. Start your research on their website by looking through this list.

Sauces and Dressings

Many sauces and dressings can add some great flavors to foods but they can also be a source for hidden gluten. One item that surprises many people when they move to gluten-free eating is soy sauce. Soy sauce has gluten but it can be substituted with liquid aminos. Another sauce that hides gluten is BBQ sauce. Make sure to check ingredients before eating. Many salad dressing will also have hidden gluten. On the ingredients list, check for wheat, rye, barley, or wheat in parenthesis to see if that dressing has hidden gluten you may not anticipate.


Many people assume that candy should be safe for someone with a gluten sensitivity or allergy. However, many candies are actually hiding gluten. Items like Twizzlers contain gluten. Some other candies that include gluten are some M&M’s, NECCO wafers, Haribo Gummy Bears, Twix, and Nerds. Some of these have gluten in them while others are at a higher risk of cross-contamination. Before consuming any candy check to make there is no gluten or gluten cross contamination at risk. It can also help to have a list of gluten-friendly candy options for your sweet tooth or for events with kids.

Pre-packaged snacks

If you are packing a lunch or using pre-packaged snacks for snack times, make sure to check the ingredients list. Many of these pre-packaged snacks will have hidden gluten. Items like jerky, packaged nuts/trail mix, or some chips can have gluten hidden in the ingredients or have a risk of cross-contamination. If you are picking up some of these items for convenience, it can help to have a list of safe items and companies to buy from. However, make sure to consistently check ingredient lists as the way a company makes some of these foods can change and put them on the unsafe list. Fortunately, there are pre-packaged gluten-free snacks you can enjoy.


When eating out it is very important to ask for an allergy list before ordering. Many restaurants can be a higher risk of either using gluten in their ingredients or of cross contamination. The other issue you might encounter is someone who unknowingly cross-contaminates your food. Items like the caramel in a Starbucks drink, the sauce on your dinner, or even the dressing on your salad can be potential gluten danger zones. When eating out, ask about whether your food has been prepared in the same space as the gluten foods. It can also help to ask if gluten items are prepared in the oil that other items are prepared as this can be a risk for cross contamination.

Hot Dogs/Lunch Meats

Many people assume that items like hot dogs should be safe for those with a gluten intolerance. While this can be the hope, it isn’t the fact with some products. Many of these processed meats can contain gluten. Even if they don’t directly contain gluten they can be a risk factor for cross contamination. Make sure to look through the ingredients lists of your favorite processed meat products to verify that there is no gluten in the item or risk of cross-contamination from manufacturing the item. Also, be sure to look for gluten-free hot dog buns to get the most enjoyment from your meal.

Instant Drinks

Items like hot cocoa packets, pre-made coffee, or even some flavored teas can have hidden gluten in them. It is important to spend some time researching the safest gluten-free options before heading to the store. It can catch some by surprise that these instant drinks are potential gluten danger zones but they definitely are. When choosing any instant mix drinks, make sure to look at the ingredients list and also to check to make sure the company has no risk of cross-contamination. Many companies will have allergy information on their websites if you are concerned.

Frozen or Restaurant french fries

French fries and tater tots can be a staple in many homes. However, they can also be a quick source of gluten contamination. When choosing frozen fries/potatoes you will want to look at the ingredients list for gluten. There are a few brands that do not contain gluten so you will not have to give these items up. When eating out, you will want to ask if the potatoes are prepared in the same oil as any gluten items. This cross-contamination could be a problem for someone with a gluten allergy or intolerance. When eating in a restaurant, ask if these items can be prepared in an oil that does not contain gluten. Not all restaurants can accommodate this request but some can.

Broths and bouillon

Broths and bouillon can add an extra layer of flavor to many dishes. In fact, many will use these in rice, roasts, or other recipes. The problem is, these can include hidden gluten. It is important to look at the ingredients list to verify that there is no gluten in those items. Some companies will use gluten in the making of these broths and bouillon cubes. Others have a risk of cross contamination from other items in their plant. Make sure to research the items on their website before buying. When visiting the company website, search for their allergy food list as it will be your quickest answer to which products are safe.

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