Gluten is found in any food product that contains wheat, barley, rye or triticale. Barley is used in malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar. Wheat comes in multiple forms, such as spelt, semolina, durum flour and semolina.
Gluten is a protein found in certain grains that used to help foods maintain their shape and structure and acts as a binder. Wheat, barley and rye are common ingredients in pasta, bread, cereal, sauces, soups and beer. Imitation meats, gravy, processed meat and certain candies often contain gluten. Some medications and vitamins use gluten as a binding agent. The label gluten-free indicates that the food product contains less than 20 parts per million of gluten.
Grains, such as rice, soy, buckwheat and cornmeal, are naturally gluten-free. However, even if a food contains naturally gluten-free products, it may still be cross-contaminated. Oats are a prime example of this because they are often processed on machines that also process gluten. Other sources of cross-contamination are shared utensils and cooking surfaces.
The only known way of treating celiac disease is to eat a gluten-free diet. Celiac disease afflicts an estimated 1 percent of Americans, preventing the body from absorbing nutrients. However, some people do not have celiac disease but are still sensitive.