Reading Food Labels – How to Tell If Something is Actually Gluten Free
If there is not a “gluten-free” label on the product packaging, read the ingredients label thoroughly. Check for hidden or questionable ingredients. Some ingredients may contain gluten.
- Read the ingredients label. Avoid all products with wheat, rye, barley, and malt in the ingredient label. Even if a packaged food product is labeled “gluten-free”, you should check the ingredients as mistakes in labeling can occur.
- Check for obvious ingredients.
- Brewer’s yeast
- Oats (unless specifically labeled gluten-free)
- Look for the word “Gluten Free”. Products made with gluten-free grains (pasta, cereal, bread, cookies) should be labeled gluten-free. Products that follow FDA guidelines, will have the “gluten-free” stamp of approval.
- Understand “shared facility” warnings. If a product is labeled “gluten-free” and states it is made in a facility as products containing wheat, it is still safe for people with celiac to eat. However, if aa food label is not labeled gluten-free, but the ingredients list looks okay, you then check the facility label .If the label states it is made in a facility as products containing wheat, do not purchase or consume this product, as there is a major risk of cross contamination (see previous blog post for information on cross contamination).
- When in Doubt, Go Without. If the product label on a food item that is not naturally gluten-free is unclear or if you’re concerned about the preparation of the item, it is best to find an alternative and not risk getting sick.
* Reading every label of a food item you purchase/eat may feel tedious at first. It may feel challenging. Believe me, I felt the same way. However, there are many naturally gluten-free foods and gluten-free substitutes to choose from. Don’t get overwhelmed. Reading labels will keep you healthy and free from the “gluten belly”.
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