8 Surprising Foods That Have Gluten

No one ever said that going gluten-free was easy, but for those looking to try out the lifestyle — for medical reasons or otherwise — it’s going to take a little more work than looking for “gluten” on the nutrition label. Gluten goes by many names, and there are a lot of foods where its presence isn’t so obvious. Here are eight not-so-obvious foods that contain gluten.

Instant coffee
Often overlooked on the hunt for hidden gluten, instant coffee and other powdered beverage mixes use gluten as a bulking agent. A lot of coffee brands in particular have made strides to label their products as gluten-free when applicable, so it shouldn’t be a problem to find a suitable alternative.

Roasted nuts
Nuts tend to be processed in facilities with the same equipment that processes wheat or wheat products. Seasoned nuts are also highly likely to contain some gluten. This can be hard to identify on packaging, so it’s best to do some investigative work.

Processed meats
Prepackaged meats that can be picked up conveniently at the deli will likely contain some gluten. It is used as a preservative in cold cuts. Check with your deli to be sure, and consider waiting in line at the butcher to avoid meats with the extra additives.

Bouillon cubes
In this case, gluten comes in the form of maltodextrin. It doesn’t apply to all bouillon cubes, but it’s certainly worth checking into so this gluten product doesn’t slide in under the radar. As with most things, the best way to be sure is to cook up your own.

Chocolate
Perhaps the most devastating on this list for those of us with a sweet tooth, chocolate can be processed with many minuscule ingredients that do contain gluten. Luckily, this doesn’t apply to all chocolate, and with some diligence, you’ll still be able to indulge.

Soy sauce
Making soy sauce requires wheat, so check the label before tucking into a plate of sauteed veggies. Kikkoman and other brands do sell gluten-free versions of the tasty sauce.

French fries
This is a tough one. Technically, fries are made from potatoes frying in oil, which is totally gluten-free. Cross-contamination is the issue here, as many kitchens that serve fries may dip them in the same oil as other fried items like breaded onion rings or vegetable tempura.

Gum
Maybe not enough to throw you off your new gluten-free path entirely, but this could affect those with a high sensitivity to gluten. Flour is often used to coat gum to keep sticks from sticking together. Double check the label of your favorite brand.

Amy Hillock is a freelance writer and an executive producer at production company ASSEMBLY9 in New York City. She enjoys leading workplace wellness yoga in offices around Manhattan through YogaWithAim, and spending recklessly on travel plans, green juice and new Nikes. Follow her (mostly) healthy pursuits on Instagram and Twitter.