Celiac: Foods to Avoid

If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, you would do best to eat natural foods, free of chemicals, preservatives, additives and other artificial ingredients, as some of these ingredients are sources of hidden gluten and are unhealthy for us all.

Link Between Celiac Disease and MSG 

There is a theory that MSG is unsafe for celiac patients.  It certainly has been proven that MSG increases the risk for autism.  In addition, it has been discovered that most individuals who report having a reaction to MSG also report a sensitivity to wheat.  There are many foods and ingredients that those with celiac disease should not consume.  One would think that rice milk would be safe, but all brands are not gluten-free.  Read the information below to find out more about unsafe foods for those with celiac individuals and more.

The theory of MSG not being safe for those with celiacs is based upon the fact that celiac patients are known to have multiple food allergies.  Why is this so?  The article linked above reports that our grains have been grown in such a way as to contain more and more glutamic acids (glutamate), causing more and more health problems because our bodies are not designed to digest gluten in the first place.  MSG is made from the grains wheat, soy or corn because they are a good sources of glutamic acid.  It has been discovered that glutamic acid/glutamate has caused a rise of autism [link no longer available].  Glutamic acid, along with dairy (more on that in a future article), should be on your list to consider avoiding if you have been diagnosed with celiac disease or have a gluten-sensitivity, gluten-intolerance, wheat-allergy, wheat-sensitivity, wheat-intolerance or just plain want to be healthy.

Image: Celiac and Gluten Foods to Avoid Logo

Celiac-Foods to Avoid

  • Wheat flour including all purpose flour and whole wheat flour
  • Oats that are not labeled “certified gluten-free”
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Gluten Flour
  • Graham Flour (wheat)
  • Semolina Flour (wheat)
  • Triticale (a cross of wheat and rye)
  • Bulgur (wheat)
  • Spelt (sometimes causes a reaction similar to wheat)
  • Durum – also known as emmer (wheat)
  • Couscous (semolina wheat)
  • Kamut (sometimes causes a reaction similar to wheat)
  • Seitan (wheat)
  • Einkorn (European and Asian wheat)
  • Fu (usually wheat if from Asia)
  • Gravies and soups thickened with wheat flour
  • Foods manufactured in a facility that manufactures any gluten products: wheat, rye, barley and most oats
  • Dextrin – may be made from wheat
  • Envelope Glue – may be made with wheat, other than vegetable based envelope glue (In the U.S. envelope glue is made from corn)
  • Protein – HVP or Hydrolyzed Plant Protein – may come from wheat
  • Imitation Seafood – also known as sirimi – may contain wheat
  • Modified Food Starch – also found in prescription and over-the-counter medications (safe if made in the U.S., unless it states contains wheat)
  • Soy flour – usually grown in fields alternated with wheat crops (Plus, soy contains an element known to effect estrogen levels.)
  • Cosmetics containing gluten
  • Veined Cheese – may contain gluten bread
  • Postum
  • Ovaltine and other flavored milk mixes
  • Some alcohol (Check out the app, Gluten Free Bartender)
  • Flavored and instant coffees, some herbal teas
  • Root beer (most well known brands in the U.S. are gluten-free.. Mugs, A&W, and Barq’s)
  • Tortillas, that are not 100% corn and contain gluten/wheat, etc.
  • Crackers (not marked gluten-free)
  • Bread – “oat bread” or “soy bread” usually contain over 50% wheat flour
  • Wafers, biscuits, croutons, bread crumbs, doughnuts, graham crackers, (not marked gluten-free)
  • Anything with malt flavoring, or Malt syrup, malted milk, some chocolate milk drinks
  • Some¬†sour creams, yogurts, ice creams; many of the¬†light or fat-free dairy products
  • Artificial creamers, processed cheese spreads, some chocolate milk drinks
  • Pies, cakes, cookies (not gluten-free), some commercial pudding mixes, ice cream cones, cake mixes
  • Some commercial salad dressings, some mayonnaise
  • Commercial canned fruit with gluten thickening (Wilderness & Comstock is GF)
  • Imitation Seafood
  • Prepared meats, canned tuna containing Hydrolyzed Vegetable or Plant protein (HVP)
  • Deli meat, sausage, hot dogs, pepperoni, etc.
  • Self-basting turkeys (often injected with HVP)
  • Glazed ham, injected ham
  • Some canned Soups, dehydrated soup mixes, bouillon¬†, and bouillon¬†cubes
  • Many creamed, breaded and scalloped vegetables
  • Some baked beans
  • Some prepared salad mixes
  • Many commercial candies and cake decorations
  • Some chocolate
  • Some ketchup and mustard
  • Soy sauce (use San-J Tarmari sauce or Kikoman “gluten-free”)
  • Some mixed spices and sauces such as taco seasonings, enchilada sauce, etc. (Most McCormick’s mixes are GF)
  • Some vinegar, (Heinz has many gluten-free varieties: Distilled White Vinegar and Apple Cider Flavored Vinegar are made from corn.¬† Wine Vinegar and Apple Cider Vinegar are made from grapes and apples.)
  • All foods marked gluten-free may not be free from cross-contamination*.
  • Toothpaste: Sorbitol is an ingredient found in some toothpastes.¬† Some are derived only from corn.¬† Some are derived from grain.
  • Gum: some chewing gums contain gluten; some contain sorbitol, too.
  • Licorice – Fortunately a few manufacturers make a gluten-free version.
  • Worcestershire sauce containing malt vinegar.
  • French fries, processed, such as in restaurants or the frozen ones found in grocery stores – ask questions and read labels.
  • Baking Powder (gluten free brands include: Rumford, Clabber Girl, Davis, Bob’s Red Mill, and Featherweight is also corn-free)
  • Caramel and caramel coloring: In the U.S. most caramel coloring is derived from corn, but on occasion you may find one that is derived from barley.¬† Check with each manufacturer.¬† In other countries, caramel and caramel coloring may contain gluten.
  • Processed meats may contain gluten: deli or prepackaged cold cuts, sausages, hot dogs; hamburgers may contain fillers with gluten; canned meats, etc.
  • Non-dairy creamers may contain gluten.
  • Beer, unless labeled¬†gluten-free. (If you are truly intolerant to gluten, consider avoiding gluten removed beer.)
  • Pickles and other pickled items made with vinegar that is not gluten-free. Most are GF.
  • Vegetable gums may contain gluten
  • Maltodextrin is made from a variety of starches – if made from wheat the label will state so. However, it is so highly processed that the wheat gluten is usually removed.
  • Stabilizers may contain gluten
  • Binders may contain gluten
  • Fillers may contain gluten
  • Mono and Diglycerides (fats) are usually made from soybean, cottonseed, sunflower, or palm oils, but some may contain gluten.
  • Natural flavor may contain gluten (Look for wheat or barley malt on the label. Rye is rarely used. Call the manufacturer when in doubt.)
  • Vegetable starch, broth, gum or protein may contain wheat or soy protein
  • Rice Malt (if it contains barley or koji)
  • Gelatinized starch or pre-gelatinized starch may indicate the presence of gluten or soy
  • Smoke Flavoring may contain barley, as barley malt flour is sometimes used to captured the smoke from the wood.
  • Instant Mashed Potatoes, some brands contain gluten
  • Slim Fast shakes – They used to make a gluten-free, lactose-free “easy to digest” shakes, but it has been discontinued.
  • Kellogg’s Rice Krispies (malt flavoring made from barley), Corn Pops (wheat starch). ¬†These are produced in facilities that manufacture wheat products. In Canada, there is a gluten free version. However, the gluten free version has been discontinued in the United States as of 2015.
  • Egg albumen – aka albumin (powdered egg whites): may be made or packaged in gluten facilities. ¬†Look for it on labels.
  • Miso – often used in Japanese cooking (sometimes made from fermented soybeans and barley or rice malt) You can find gluten-free miso that is not made with barley
  • Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP): is usually made from corn, but some are made from¬†wheat, soy, oats, or milk.
  • Carob – Soy Flour – It is gluten-free, but watch for cross-contamination of gluten.
  • Chili Con Carne – may contain caramel coloring (in U.S. usually okay, but check with manufacturer); may contain textured vegetable protein (TVP) (may contain gluten, again, check with manufacturer).
  • Curry powder (may contain wheat) (check with manufacturer).
  • Catholics: Communion Hosts are not safe; and sometimes host is added to the Communion wine.
  • ‚ÄúMono- and Diglycerides in dry products – are sometimes carried over using a gluten ingredient. (check with manufacturers).
  • Maple Syrup – some brands are not gluten-free:¬†Log Cabin’s Sugar Free Syrup is not gluten free in the USA or in CANADA. ¬†The natural flavoring contains barley.

This is by no means a complete list, but will give you a good start if you are new to the gluten-free diet.  Read your labels and know your ingredients.  Kraft Food products is one of the manufacturers who are committed to stating whether their products contain gluten.  For other products contact the manufacturer with any questions.  Products contain phone numbers for this very reason.

Come back for more information, as we will be posting more and more articles on this subject.  In addition, we add to the list regularly.

Non-food Items

  • Playdough (not marked gluten-free)
  • Many cosmetics, shampoos, conditions, lotions, etc.
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Prescription drugs, call ahead and ask the pharmacists to research your prescription
  • Vitamins – VitaminShoppe brand is all gluten-free
  • Contrast liquids you drink for a medical test may contain gluten
  • Dental polishing paste may contain gluten


MSG may cause different reactions in individuals.  Reported reactions have been allergic to neurological and cardiovascular and more.  See full list of reactions to MSG at Collected Reports of Adverse Reactions Caused by MSG.  More importantly, learn the hidden sources of MSG.

Also see latest news on GMO Linked to Celiac Disease.

Now that you know which ingredients and food you cannot have, check out the List of Gluten Free Products and Ingredients you can have.

*Cross-contamination Рfoods that may have been manufactured in a plant with gluten or crops that have been grown near gluten crops.  See my upcoming article on food labeling.

Visit Carla’s Gluten Free Online Store.

28 Replies to “Celiac: Foods to Avoid”

  1. Thank you for the help given. I have a café and I am including gluten free options. I am unsure if natural nuts are a problem. I would appreciate your comments. thank you.

    1. Stella,

      I am sorry that I missed your question. Your comment went into my spam folder for some reason.

      Meanwhile, nuts are naturally gluten free. However, you just never know what a manufacturer will add. So, be sure to check labels for allergen warnings just in case.


  2. Maple Syrup IS gluten free as it made simply by boiling the sap from the maple tree until most of the water from the sap has evaporated! “Table Syrup” or “Pancake Syrup” or “Maple Flavored Syrup” all may contain gluten. Make sure your container says “Pure Maple Syrup” for a healthy, natural GLUTEN FREE syrup.

  3. I found whole barley kernels in my lentils and other dried beans. I now wonder if some of the problems I’ve had after eating canned beans was cross-contamination rather than a problem with the beans themselves.

  4. Thank you for your list; a lot has changed in the few years since my diagnosis- my list is 4 pages in size 11 font! I’ve seen a lot of controversy over Annatto colouring recently. It used to be ‘avoid at all costs’ straight across the board, but now I’m finding that many Celiac websites & personal blogs are claiming that it is fine. I am aware that the seed itself is G Free, but was told by my gastroenterologist that ‘sometimes’ in the processing of it wheat is used and the manufacturer should always be contacted if I wished to try something with annatto on the ingredient list. That was a few years back. Do you have any current information on this?

    1. Hi Chelsea,

      I do not have any recent update. From my research, I have come to the conclusion that annatto coloring is gluten free when made from ingredients made in the U.S. When it is gluten-free, some still react to it for other reasons such as allergies. The concerns were that it contains caramel coloring and alcohol. Alcohol is filtered so many times that the grains are no longer effective, even when made from gluten grains. If the caramel coloring was made in the U.S. then it is gluten-free. When in doubt, always contact the manufacturer prior to consuming a product.

      You may already be aware of the above, but it may help others reading your question.


  5. My husband was diagnosed with moderately-severe celiac disease in March 2012, which knocked us for a loop, and we have been trying to educate ourselves as best as we’ve known how; this has been very enlightening!! I’m making me a shopping binder of all the gluten info I’ve learned so far; all the hidden names, etc., to take to the grocery store with me. Thank you so much.

  6. I have been gf since 2003 and the list has change dramatically since I was diagnosed. Unfortunately I have to learn all over again. I am glad to read this article as I was unaware of that some root beer was not gf. Thanks for the info!

    1. Barley, malt syrup and starch hydrolysates may be used in the production of caramel coloring, though U.S. companies usually use corn. European companies usually do not, unless marked gluten-free. There are many gluten-free root beers, though. Last I checked A&Ws was gf. I heard that Virgil’s is great and gluten-free, though more expensive than most brands.

    1. Glad you had already understood that. Not everyone sees my copyright statement at the bottom of my pages. Looks great! :-) Thanks for linking back to my site, too!

  7. wow wow wow! even having my son on his diet almost a year – I missed some! Thank you! If you don’t mind, I will repost on my blog for my readers.

    In question to Rice Dream…does that include their ice cream?


    1. Hi macocha!

      Glad this helped you!

      You have my permission to write a blurb/statement/short excerpt and then link to this article, but not to repost the entire list.

      I have a post scheduled to post soon all about Rice Dream rice milk products. Here is an excerpt:
      Rice Dream’s non-dairy desserts that are marked gluten-free include: (pints/quarts): Vanilla, Strawberry, Cocoa Marble Fudge, Orange Vanilla Swirl,
      Carob Almond, Neapolitan. However, I would assume they use the same rice milk to make these desserts.

      1. Ali-kat and Adam, hear hear! Maltodextrin doesn’t come from a farm so I don’t want to eat that, neither do I want to eat turkey that has not been raised near me, scratching in the grass and eating bugs.Grass fed meat contains omega 3 fatty acids, and anything else does not. Plus, buying local and free range or organic means that you are supporting local economy and the environment by keeping things small scale and cutting out all that packaging and transport.Finally (yes I’m on a roll sorry ) gravy is naturally gluten free if you make it with the scrapings from the tin that you cooked the bird in, loosened off with some water and maybe a slosh of wine or madeira. If you cook some quartered onions around the bird then you can even mash them in a bit, all caramelly and flavoursome.Who needs maltodextrin, rice flour, modified cornstarch, and caramel in their gravy? Who needs to add cooked turkey to something that is already there in the tin you cooked the bird in?Come on people celiacs have the opportunity to eat well, eat real food and make a difference to the world. Let this thanksgiving be local, free range and packet free!x x x

  8. You need to explain why Rice Dream is not really gluten free even though it clearly states on the package it is GF. I understand the underhanded move the company made but others might not.

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