This list is of foods that newly diagnosed gluten-free folks typically forget have gluten, creating an exposure and reaction.
Top 10 Inadvertent Gluten Exposures
1. Soy Sauce – Most soy sauce contains wheat, which means any food made with soy sauce is gluten-full, including things like Barbecue and Teriyaki sauce. This is the reason that I don't encourage patients to eat at Chinese restaurants early on while gluten free. Almost all those sauces contain wheat.
2. Soups, Sauces, and Gravy – Most creamy gravies, soups, and sauces have wheat flour as a thickener. Any food made with a prepared soup as an ingredient is likely gluten-full.
3. Oatmeal – Naturally, oatmeal does not contain gluten. The growth rotation of farmers sometimes has oats following wheat in the fields and unless precautions are made, the oats travel in trucks that carry wheat, are processed in mills that also handle wheat, and get contaminated with gluten along the way. Look for certified gluten-free oats.
Newer exposures include the mechanically separated oats included in Cheerios, and other cereal products.
4. Beer – Barley is the reason beer is gluten-full. Some beers also contain wheat.
5. Vegan Meat Replacements are typically made with wheat gluten. Choosing a Vegan gluten-free lifestyle means being very careful of your product choices.
6. Sushi Soy sauce in the dipping sauce is obvious, but much sushi uses some soy in the seasoning of the individual pieces as they are being made. If inexpensive sushi is made from faux crab or fish, that is also gluten-rich.
7. Rice Crispies – Yes there are gluten-free rice crispies, but the ones used to make the pre-made treats or used in bakeries to give a bit of a crunch to cookies or pastry are not that kind of rice crispies.
8. Tortillas – Corn tortillas are naturally gluten-free, but many restaurants use the newer wheat and corn blends or fry their chips in a fryer that is also used for battered items, contaminating the chips with gluten.
9. Chocolates and Candies – Flavorings, rice crispies (puffed rice), and sweeteners can all contain gluten. Also, watch for malt powders.
10. French Fries – Although you would expect French fries to be just potatoes and oil, many have a flour coating to make them crisper or to allow spices to stick. The other concern is the dreaded cross-contaminated fryer, used to fry battered foods as well, leaving tiny bits of wheat dough all over your fries. Make them yourself at home.