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Gluten-Free Know-How: What Are Other Names for Wheat?

Beware of aliases like flour, bulgur, semolina, spelt, frumento, durum (also spelled duram), kamut, graham, einkorn, farina, couscous, seitan, matzoh, matzah, matzo, and cake flour. Often marketed as a “wheat alternative,” none of these is even remotely gluten-free.

You need to avoid (or at least question) anything with the word wheat in it. This includes hydrolyzed wheat protein, wheat starch, wheat germ, and so on. Wheat grass, however, like all grasses, is gluten-free.

Keep these few additional wheat-related details in mind:

  • Derivatives of gluten-containing grains aren’t allowed on a gluten-free diet. The most common derivative you have to avoid is malt, which usually comes from barley. If malt is derived from another source, such as corn, that fact usually appears on the label. If not specified, though, don’t eat it.

  • Triticale is a made-up grain — a hybrid of wheat and rye. Inventors developed it to combine the productivity of wheat with the ruggedness of rye, not just to add another grain to your list of forbidden foods. And relatively speaking, it’s fairly nutritious for people who can eat gluten.

  • Wheat starch is actually wheat that’s had the gluten washed out. In some countries, a special type of wheat starch called Codex Alimentarius wheat starch is permitted on the gluten-free diet — but it’s not allowed in North America, because some people question whether the washing process completely removes all residual gluten.

You can find a complete listing of gluten-free foods and gluten-containing foods at Celiac.com.

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