BodyMindLink Blog

Gluten-Free Labels

Are you finding it difficult to purchase foods that are truly gluten free? …  If you live in Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, Milton, Burlington, Hamilton, or Niagara you might consider our gluten free approach to healthy living, all part of our advanced clinical nutrition program.


Gluten can be found in medications and food products including spices, gravy, soup, chips, etcetera.   Gluten-free foods in Canada are those deemed to exclude gluten protein found in the grain (or ‘grain of hybridized strain’) of wheat, rye, barley, oats, triticale, kamut or spelt.

Gluten Intolerance: The BodyMindLink

Food reactions to these gluten containing cereals are numerous and affect our physical and mental health.

Gluten intolerance is associated in varying degrees with the following conditions and symptoms:  bloating, constipation, fatigue, skin conditions, brain fog, weight gain, depression, anxiety, ADD & OCD, schizophrenia, arthritis, etcetera.  Gluten reactions in the body are common in society so maintaining a gluten-free diet can be a good lifestyle principle for healthy aging (longevity).

Gluten-Free Labelling

In the United States, U.S. FDA labelling criteria allow food products to be deemed “gluten-free”, “without gluten”, “free of gluten”, or “no gluten” even when there are ingredients derived from gluten containing grains.  Under the current FDA criteria, this can be done when that ingredient has undergone gluten removal processing and the food it is contained in has < 20 ppm gluten.

20 ppm is considered an acceptable maximum limit for gluten in Canada as well!  The premise behind this is that most celiac disease patients can tolerate small quantities of gluten.

I have gluten intolerant clients that react to low gluten and contaminated ‘gluten-free’ products.  This is noticeable for those that strictly avoid gluten and are essentially barometers for determining if food items are causing a gluten reaction.  Some can’t squeeze there hand when they eat gluten products, feel tired, experience racing pulse and irritability while others experience more profound reactions that were previously part of their symptom profile.

The Bottom Line on Gluten-Free Labels & Food Purchasing

Those who eat an assumed gluten free product and have a reaction that is similar or the same as that of a reaction that they experienced from a known gluten-containing food then they should probably avoid that food item.

The best thing is to read the labels, avoid ‘red flag’ ingredients (see below), and stick to products with the least number of ingredients.  You should comfortably know which ingredients are safe bets, for example, unprocessed meat, eggs, vegetables, nuts, etcetera, do not contain gluten.  Other gluten-free purchasing principles are described in previous blogs.

Gluten cross contamination from manufacturing processing (e.g. gluten debris on conveyor belt, fillers, etcetera) is unfortunately not eliminated in all cases but the aim is to limit exposure as much as possible by sourcing products from quality manufacturers that have a system of oversight in play for their product line. 

RedFlag Gluten Containing Ingredients

Fillers, bulking or diluting agents in food or medication can be sourced from wheat, rye, or barley.

Here is a list of common product ingredients to be cautious of:

wheat, pre-gelatinized starch or modified starch (if source is not specified), modified starch (if source is not specified), caramel coloring (if sourced from barley malt), dextrin (if source is not specified; typically its potato or corn), dextrates (if source is not specified), and dextrimaltose (if sourced from barley malt).



The BodyMindLink series by Dr Ray Pataracchia ND provides insight on Naturopathic approaches that matter and have the potential to benefit general and mental health.   Clinical approaches discussed are implemented by the Naturopathic Medical Research Clinic (NMRC) in Toronto, Ontario.  Our clinic treats a wide array of health conditions.

Disclaimer: Information provided is not to be used for self-assessment, diagnosis or treatment.  We advise readers to discuss these topics with their health care provider or book an appointment with our Toronto clinic.