March is National Nutrition Month, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating. It is also the time of year when the Academy celebrates expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists as the food and nutrition experts.
It's important to learn about ingredients in foods. Many packaged foods can contain gluten even if the ingredients don't include wheat, rye or barley. Ingredients such as modified food starch, malt or soy sauce also contain gluten. The following are some common processed foods that may contain gluten.
- Bouillon cubes
- Brown rice syrup
- Cold cuts, hot dogs, salami, sausage
- Communion wafers (See below)
- French fries
- Imitation fish
- Malt (malt syrup, malt extract, malted milk and malt vinegar)
- Medicines (See below)
- Modified food starch
- Rice mixes
- Seasoned snack foods (tortilla chips, potato chips)
- Self-basting turkey
- Soy sauce
- Vegetables in sauce
Some of these foods can be found in gluten-free varieties. When in doubt, check with the food manufacturer.
This list is not complete. People with celiac disease should discuss gluten-free food choices with a registered dietitian or physician who specializes in celiac disease. Use the Find an Expert tool to locate a registered dietitian nutritionist in your area. People with celiac disease should always read food ingredient lists carefully to make sure that the food does not contain gluten.
Communion wafers are generally made from wheat. Some manufacturers make gluten-free wafers for people with celiac disease. However, the official position of the Catholic Church is that gluten-free hosts may not be used to celebrate the Eucharist. Catholics with celiac disease have been encouraged to take Holy Communion in the form of wine only. The Congregation of Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration has developed a low-gluten Communion wafer that conforms to Canon law.
Some medications and supplements may use fillers made from wheat and rye. Check with your physician. Learn more about gluten in medication »