For those just getting started on a gluten free diet, the task can be very daunting. Identifying what to and what not to avoid is where most people get stuck or frustrated. Below we have put together a video and a list of some of the most common foods that will get you into trouble while following a gluten free diet...

1. Grains

As part of the gluten free "Golden Rule", grains should be avoided to prevent reactions to gluten. The most common items are bread, pasta, cereals, muffins, bagels, cookies, and cakes. But there are many more food items on this short list that commonly contain grains - gravies, croutons, bread crumbs, biscuits, rolls, pita, batter-fried foods, noodles, tortillas, ice cream cones, bran, wheat germ, dumplings, pancake mixes, pies, pumpernickel and rye breads, cornbread, vermicelli, doughnuts, buns, pretzels, spaghetti, waffles and pastries. Many companies have started making gluten free versions of these products. Problem is - they are not TRUE gluten free. Other grains like corn and rice are commonly used as alternative safe substitutes despite the research showing their detriment. For more on this, you can view our comprehensive page on food terms to avoid while eating a gluten free diet.

2. Condiments and seasonings

Many common condiments and seasonings contain gluten and cause problems for those who are gluten-intolerant. The following foods should be eliminated from the diet unless they plainly state on the label that they are gluten-free: Worcestershire sauce, MSG, modified food starch, malt products, bouillon, barley malt, and soy sauce. Also be aware that many gravies and salad dressings are thickened with gluten containing flours and grains.

3. Alcoholic beverages

Most forms of alcohol are made from grains. At the top of the list are beer and malted beverages like wine coolers. It's recommended that you proceed cautiously with any of the grain based alcohols such as whiskey, certain vodkas, and gin. Many claim that these are OK because they are distilled, but clinically, patients continue to have reactions to grain based alcoholic beverages. Additionally, alcohol slows the healing process and can contribute to other health problems. If you are going gluten free because you are sick, drinking alcohol will not serve as beneficial to aiding in your recovery.

4. Processed meats

Processed meat products are unhealthy. They most commonly contains high levels of cancer causing preservatives. There is some question as to whether meats coming from grain fed animals create problems with gluten intolerant individuals. Processed meats including cold cuts, liverwurst, hot dogs, sausages, bologna, pepperoni, salami and pate are high in gluten because various grains are used in their manufacture.

5. Sweets and treats

Being on a gluten-free diet includes eliminating sweets and treats that may be made with flours and other substances containing gluten. Foods to avoid include all products made with malt, all chocolate and chocolate candy containing malt, ice cream, candies containing cereal extract, sherbets, commercial cake frosting, and root beer. Check labels, read the ingredients.

6. Miscellaneous

Many items that people get gluten exposure from are less obvious. Pet food, make -up, shampoos, and skin lotions are some common examples. For more comprehensive information on hidden gluten and cross contamination, we recommend reading and watching this <<<

Beware of cross contamination

During product manufacturing, a variety of gluten-free products come into contact with products such as grains containing gluten. This is where cross-contamination may occur. This is common in factories that process both regular and gluten-free products and use the same machines for both. The other place cross-contamination can occur is in the kitchen. It occurs most commonly when preparing meals and sharing the same kitchen tools and surfaces.

A recent study found that more than 40% of processed foods labeled gluten free still had enough gluten to cause damage to those with intolerance issues. Use extreme care and have a back up cutting board that is only used for preparing gluten-free items to avoid cross-contamination. On that same note, use extreme caution if eating out. Many restaurants will not have measures in place to prevent the cross contamination of the food they are serving you.