One of the biggest learning curves you’ll need to make when embarking on a gluten-free and grain-free lifestyle is working out all the sneaky places grains lurk for the unsuspecting shopper.
Its challenging for a gluten-free person but even more so for the grain-free as refined maize features so prominently as an additive in nearly all processed food. So even if something is clearly labelled “gluten free” in many cases the product can still contain a grain-based additive.
Dextrose, Glucose and Maltodextrin
Dextrose is a refined sweetener made from plant starch, usually corn or rice starch. Sometimes this is tapioca based. Depending on the labeling laws in your country they may state whether it is corn/maize/rice or tapioca, but not always.
Some of the less obvious places you will find this are potato chips / french fries – they are soaked in a dextrose solution to help them fry crispy.
Glucose is another sweetener that is frequently made from wheat or other grain-based ingredients.
Maltodextrin is used as a sweetener, filler and binder and is made from rice, corn (usually) or sometimes tapioca or potato starch.
These three ingredients wipe out a huge range of refined sauces, condiments, ketchup, syrups, icecream, commerical french fries. I would say 90% of what is in the condiment aisle of your supermarket contains some form of these hidden grains.
Soy Milk Additives
Soy Milk is usually made with additives to make it taste “better”. Here are a couple of ingredient lists of two popular soy milks on the market in Australia:
Filtered water, soy protein (3.5%), corn maltodextrin, vegetable oils (sunflower, canola) [contains antioxidant (tocopherols) (contains soy)], cane sugar, minerals (phosphates of calcium, potassium and magnesium), acidity regulator (332), antioxidant (ascorbic acid), vitamins (A, B12, B2, B1), natural flavour.
Notice the corn maltodextrin
Whole Soy Bean Milk (95%) [Filtered Water, Milled Whole Organic Soy Beans], Organic Sugar, Wheat Protein (Gluten), Organic Malt Extract, Aquamin (Organic Calcium), Salt, Mineral Salt (Sodium Bicarbonate), Vegetable Gum (Carrageenan)
Notice the Wheat Protein and Malt Extract, both grains.
I also notice alot of soy milks use rice syrup instead of sugar to sweeten.
And other weird places
Grain-based additives have been spotted in flavoured teas, many other kinds of flavoured drinks, spice mixes, baking powder and other food items. It is usually in sausages and mince mixes, hamburger patties (unless stated 100% beef), any caserole, stew or stir fry you haven’t made yourself you can usually assume the meat has been dusted with flour as a sauce thickener. Grilled fish and meats are usually dusted with flour so it doesn’t stick.
The illustration above shows a very typical “lethal” meal for an unsuspecting eater: meatballs (full of flour and possible spice mixes containing gluten and grains), a lovely sauce (would be full of either glucose, dextrose or maltodextrin and some kind of starch to thicken).