India's Gluten-Free Food Community

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Definition:

Gluten is found primarily in wheat and related grains like rye and barley. It a combination of 2 proteins - Gliadin and Glutenin - which are responsible for the elastic consistency of dough. It makes food made from wheat flour chewy and gives bread its sponge like properties.



Sources of Gluten:

  •  GRAINS and their derivatives as sources of Gluten:
    • Wheat
    • Varieties and derivatives of wheat such as:
      • Maida Flour
      • Suji (Semolina)
      • Also Wheatberries, Durum, Emmer, Spelt, Farina, Farro, Graham, and other varieties of wheat.
    • Rye
    • Barley
    • Triticale
    • Malt in various forms including: malted barley flour, malted milk or milkshakes, malt extract, malt syrup, malt flavoring, malt vinegar
    • Wheat Starch that has not been processed to remove the presence of gluten.


  •  COMMON FOODS that contain Gluten:
    • Roti and Naan
    • Breads: White Bread, Whole Wheat Bread, Multigrain Bread, Rye Bread, croissants, pita, naan, flat breads, etc.
    • Pastas: Raviolis, dumplings, and gnocchi
    • Couscous
    • Pizza Base: Made from wheat or maida flour
    • Burger Buns
    • Noodles: (Unless made from rice)
    • Dim sums/Momos/Spring Rolls: Unless made from rice flour or potato starch.
    • Cakes, Pastries and Brownies: Also includes donuts, bagels, muffins, cupcakes, etc.
    • Cookies/ Biscuits: Maida, Aata, or Suji Biscuits/ Crackers/ Pretzels
    • Chocolates with Wafer
    • Cereal & Granola: Corn flakes and rice puffs often contain malt extract/flavoring, granola often made with regular oats, not gluten-free oats.
    • Pancakes, Waffles and Crepes
    • Croutons: Often used as a coating before frying, or in Salads and Soups
    • Soy sauce: Contains wheat
    • Malt Vinegar: Made from Barley. It is not distilled and contains gluten.
    • Flour Tortilla Wraps
    • Beer
    • Wheat/Malt Based Alcoholic Beverages
    • Brewer’s Yeast
    • Heeng/ Asafoetida (Indian spice): Contains wheat


  •  Foods that MAY contain Gluten:
    • Oats: Most companies manufacture oats in the same facilities as wheat, thereby contaminating them with Gluten.It may trigger a reaction in people with Gluten Intolerance.
    • Corn Flour: Mostly manufactured in the same facilities as wheat, thereby contaminating the flour with Gluten. It may trigger a reaction in people with Gluten Intolerance.
    • French fries – They are often coated with a batter containing wheat flour/maida flour/corn flour. There may even be cross-contamination from fryers.
    • Seekh Kebab/ Sausages: Manufacturers often use maida flour/suji for binding.
    • Soup – Several cream-based soups have maida or corn flour as a thickener. Some may also contain barley.
    • Chips: Many potato chips also contain wheat/maida flour. It is advisable to always read the label carefully before consuming.
    • Nachos or tortilla chips that are not entirely corn-based may contain a wheat-based ingredient. (For example, Senor Pepito Tortilla chips contain gluten)
    • Chocolates: Some chocolates or candies contain gluten ingredients — either in the form of wheat (most frequently in chocolate-cookie confections) or in the form of barley malt (a popular sweetener frequently used in candy). Other chocolate candies which contain no gluten ingredients, may be subject to gluten cross-contamination if they're manufactured on the same equipment as the gluten-containing items.
    • Salad dressings, Mayonnaise and Marinades: may contain malt vinegar, soy sauce, or flour as a thickener.
    • Sauces and Ketchup: may contain flour or other thickening agents that contain gluten.
    • Some Indian Gravies which contain wheat/maida flour for thickening
    • Indian Desserts: Rasmalai, Kulfi, Rasgulla, Barfi, etc may contain maida flour
    • Chinese Food which contain soy sauce/oyster sauce, maida/corn flour or malt vinegar
    • Meats/Seafood that contain wheat/maida flour for marination
    • Sushi: May contain soy sauce or mayonnaise which is not gluten-free. Tempura contains bread/maida flour for coating.
    • Imitation Meats or Seafood: Often use wheat flour for binding
    • Starch or dextrin if found on a meat or poultry product could be from any grain, including wheat.
  •  ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES Most distilled alcoholic beverages are gluten-free. These distilled products do not contain any harmful gluten peptides even if they are made from gluten-containing grains. Research indicates that the gluten peptide is too large to carry over in the distillation process, leaving the resulting liquid gluten-free. Beers, ales, lagers, and malt beverages that are made from gluten-containing grains are not distilled and therefore are not gluten-free.
  •  COSMETICS, TOOTHPASTE AND MEDICATIONS:
    • Cosmetics that are unintentionally ingested like lipstick, lipgloss, and lip balm should be used with caution. Popular brands like Maybelline, L'oreal and Lakme have confirmed that their lipsticks and lip balms are gluten-free. Gluten in Shampoos and Skin Products is not a problem unless accidently consumed.
    • Toothpastes may sometimes contain gluten ingredients. However, most popular brands are free from gluten.
    • Medications: Oral medications in the form of tablets and capsules may contain wheat starch as an ingredient. This is however not very common, and if present, the wheat excipient should ideally be mentioned on the label.


Cross Contamination

Only foods that contain 20 parts per million (ppm) or less can be labelled as 'gluten-free' and are safe to consume by people with an intolerance to gluten. Such low levels of gluten are difficult to achieve even in foods that may not have any ingredients containing gluten. This is due to cross-contact or contamination. Cross-contact occurs when foods or ingredients come into contact with gluten, generally through shared utensils or a shared cooking/storage environment. In order for food to be safe for someone with celiac disease, it must not come into contact with food containing gluten.

Places where Cross-Contamination commonly occurs:

  • Tawa, Chakla and Belan: If the same ones are used for making both gluten-free and wheat roti.
  • Toasters: If the same toaster is used for both gluten-free and regular bread
  • Flour sifters
  • Deep fried foods cooked in oil shared with breaded products
  • Shared containers including improperly washed containers
  • Butter and Spreads: Cheese spread, peanut butter, jam, mayonnaise, etc. may become contaminated when utensils used on gluten-containing food are double-dipped
  • Shared Cutlery: If the same spoons/knives are used for both foods, those containing gluten and those without.