Gluten-Free Cheat Sheet

This cheat sheet has been compiled and provided by Allison St. Sure, of Sure Foods Living, who focuses on educating and raising awareness about celiac disease and food sensitivities to help those newly embarking on a gluten-free diet. Her site is full of wonderful information, so please visit her and check it out.

Please remember, always read ingredients and check with the manufacturer if you are not sure if something contains gluten and avoid the food until you are sure. The key to being successful on the gluten-free diet is becoming an avid label reader. The better you can decipher labels, the less chance you will accidentally ingest gluten. Also note that manufacturers will often change the ingredients in a product, so even when you are familiar with certain brands and products, continue good label reading practices!

Grains Not Allowed In A Gluten-Free Diet

Gluten Free Aisle

  • Anything with the word “wheat” in it, except buckwheat (buckwheat is gluten-free).
  • Flour (unless it is gluten-free flour or is made purely from a non-gluten source, like rice flour).
  • Barley
  • Common foods and ingredients that contain barley: Beer, Malt flavoring, syrup or extract (found in most commercial cereals), Malt vinegar
  • Rye
  • Bulgur
  • Cous-cous
  • Durum
  • Eikorn
  • Emmer
  • Farina
  • Farro
  • Graham
  • Matzoh
  • Semolina

Common Foods That Contain Wheat

  • Baked goods such as muffins, cookies, cakes, pies
  • Breads such as wheat bread, white bread, “potato” bread
  • Breakfast foods such as pancakes, waffles, crepes, cereals, doughnuts
  • Pasta, pizza, bagels, crackers, breading
  • Kamut
  • Oats (commercial oats are contaminated with wheat; gluten-free oats are available)
  • Spelt / Dinkel / Farro
  • Triticale (hybrid of wheat and rye)

Ingredients That May Contain Gluten

  • Brown rice syrup (sometimes made with barley)
  • Dextrin (usually made with corn, but sometimes made with wheat; maltodextrin is OK)
  • Mono and dyglycerides
  • Caramel color (most likely gluten-free if made in USA)
  • Modified food starch or modified starch (if it does not specify what kind of starch)
  • Hydrolyzed or textured plant or vegetable protein (if it does not specify a plant/vegetable that is gluten-free)
  • Vegetable gum (source is unknown, but carob bean gum, locust bean gum, cellulose gum, guar gum, gum arabic, gum aracia and xanthan gum are gluten-free)
  • Natural and artificial flavorings
  • Seasonings and seasoning mixes

Foods And Other Things To Watch Out For

  • Soy sauce (some are wheat-free, most contain wheat), teriyaki sauce (contains soy sauce), oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, many marinades
  • Commercial cereals — most are made from wheat and/or have malt flavoring which comes from barley
  • Flavored coffees or teas
  • Imitation seafood (if ordering sushi, make sure that they use real crab)
  • Imitation bacon
  • Packaged bacon (some brands contain soy sauce, eg. Farmer John’s)
  • Processed meats (although many now list “gluten-free” on their labels)
  • Mexican food (some places buy marinated meats that contain soy sauce; corn chips are sometimes cooked in same oil as fried flour tortillas)
  • Soups, stews, bisques, anything made from a “roux”
  • Anything breaded, floured or marinated
  • Blue cheese, veined cheeses — although many/most may be OK
  • Medicines — go to for GF list
  • Lipstick and any other non-food items like playdough, lotion, paste, etc.

Grains, Flours and Starches Allowed on a Gluten-Free Diet


  • Amaranth
  • Arrowroot
  • Bean flours
  • Buckwheat (kasha – not to be confused with Kashi brand cereals, which are not gluten-free)
  • Corn (maize), including polenta (but check on other ingredients that may have been added)
  • Flax
  • Garfava
  • Potatoes, including potato flour and potato starch
  • Millet
  • Montina
  • Nut flours
  • Oats (if certified gluten-free)
  • Quinoa
  • Rice, including risotto (but check on other ingredients that may have been added)
  • Sorghum
  • Soy
  • Tapioca
  • Teff

Basic Foods Allowed on a Gluten-Free Diet

  • Meat and fish — naturally gluten-free as long as not marinated, breaded, etc.
  • Vegetables and fruits — fresh, frozen or canned are usually gluten-free, but always check ingredients
  • Beans
  • Nuts and seeds, as long as they are not coated with flour or flavoring
  • Dairy products — check flavored varieties
  • Eggs
  • Snacks made from above list of allowed grains – watch out for flavorings
  • Condiments (many are gluten-free, but check ingredients)
  • Coffee and tea, although flavored varieties could contain barley malt
  • Distilled vinegars* (including red, white and balsamic; malt vinegar is not ok)
  • Wine and champagne
  • Distilled alcohol* (unless flavorings containing gluten are added)

*Some people prefer to avoid vinegars and alcohol made from gluten-containing grains Note: The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA), mandates that foods labeled on or after January 2006 must declare wheat in plain language either on the ingredient list or by using the words “contains wheat.”