Gluten is an umbrella term referring to specific proteins, called prolamines, which are present in wheat, barley and rye. Over the years, as food has become more highly processed, gluten has been used in a multitude of products as an additive. This has resulted in far greater consumption of gluten than nature ever intended, and more and more people are developing gluten intolerances, allergies and celiac disease.
Thanks to food allergy labeling laws, companies are required to list wheat any time a wheat derivative has been used. It can still be useful to familiarize yourself with some of the other names for wheat, which include: bulgur, couscous, farina, graham flour, matzah, spelt, semolina, and wheat germ. There are others, but we’ve found these to be the ones people are most likely to mistake for gluten free grains.
Barley and rye are not included in the food allergy labeling laws, so it’s important to know the other terms used to indicate their presence.
Barley is used in a lot of foods you might not expect. Words referring to barley products are: ale, beer, brewer’s yeast, lager, malt extract, malt syrup, malt flavoring, malt vinegar, malted milk and brown rice syrup (if malt extract has been added to the rice).
Rye is rarely used as an additive and doesn’t have other terms.
One last note: corn gluten refers to a different type of protein and is okay to include in a gluten free diet (talk about confusing!)