Natural Balance Foods

Ingredients Labels and Gluten

Gluten Free Food Labels

Gluten free living demands that you read food labels closely before buying your weekly shop in the supermarket. But how do you know what to look for? If you’re about to embark on a gluten free diet, or you have started eating gluten free but are finding things tricky, this list of gluten containing ingredients should help.

Gluten can be hidden in food, and isn’t just in foods that openly contain wheat, barley and rye. If you’re lucky enough to be in a supermarket which has a gluten free section, head there before you do anything. If you’re not, keep this list of ingredients handy.

How to spot gluten on your food labels

Here are some of the most common names for wheat, which you might see on a food label:

  • Triticum vulgare (wheat)
  • Secale cereale (rye)
  • Triticum spelta (spelt, a form of wheat)
  • Triticale (cross between wheat and rye)
  • Hordeum vulgare (this is barley)

Gluten containing foods

Here are some of the foods which if they don’t state ‘gluten free’ on the pack you should always avoid, since they most definitely contain gluten:

  • Pasta
  • Couscous
  • Wheat protein
  • Wheat starch
  • Wheat flour
  • Bread flour
  • Bleached flour
  • Bulgur Malt
  • Farina
  • Seitan
  • Wheat or barley grass
  • Wheat germ oil or extract


Remember this list isn’t exhaustive! It’s to be used as a guide only.

Possible gluten containing foods

Remember to always check with the manufacturer if you aren’t sure about a product, or simply choose another product instead. Shopping online is also a good way to go, since you can perform a gluten free search, which can save you trawling the aisles of the supermarket! These food ingredients could potentially contain gluten. It’s best to avoid them if in doubt:

  • Seasonings
  • Flavourings
  • Vegetable starch
  • Natural flavour/natural flavouring
  • Artificial flavour/artificial flavouring
  • Caramel colour
  • Modified food starch
  • Vegetable protein/hydrolysed vegetable protein

It is important to note that a food which doesn’t appear to contain gluten may cause a reaction because it’s been cross contaminated during the manufacturing process. It could also be contaminated whilst you’re preparing it. If in doubt, see our article ‘how to prepare gluten free foods’.

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