Grains to Avoid on a Gluten-Free Diet

Part of the Gluten-Free Cooking For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Some people may not realize that embracing a gluten-free diet means you must give up more than just wheat-based foods. Here are the grains you need to avoid on a gluten-free diet:

  • Wheat and most things with the word wheat in its name. You also need to avoid hydrolyzed wheat protein, wheat starch, wheat germ, and so on, but you may not realize that you need to 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.

    By the way, wheat grass, like all grasses, is gluten-free, as is buckwheat.

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

  • Barley and its derivatives. Most malt is derived from barley, so unless it states otherwise, you need to avoid malt and malt flavoring as well as barley in its pure form.

  • Triticale, which most people have never heard of, is a hybrid cross between wheat and rye. It was developed to combine the productivity of wheat with the ruggedness of rye.

  • Rye isn’t really hidden in many foods, so the pure form of rye — usually found in rye bread — is what you need to avoid.

  • Derivatives of gluten-containing grains. If you thought you were done with derivatives when you finished your calculus class, you were wrong. You need to avoid derivatives of gluten-containing grains, and the most common one to watch out for is malt, which usually comes from barley. Malt, malt flavoring, and malt vinegar are definite no-nos. If malt is derived from another source, such as corn, it will usually say so on the label; for instance, “malt (from corn).” That’s not too common, though, so if the source isn’t specified, don’t eat it.

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Gluten-Free Cooking For Dummies Cheat Sheet

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