Your Gluten-Free Guide to Halloween Candy

Your Gluten-Free Guide to Halloween Candy

Although many people who must follow a strict gluten-free diet have become accustomed to identifying the (sometimes surprising) gluten-containing ingredients that appear in popular commercial foods, like Halloween candy, many people are not yet aware of the many sources and different names for gluten and may rely on misleading lists found on the internet. Vitarock’s Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Andrew, describes what to look for this Halloween if you want to avoid the tricks and keep your treats gluten-free! 

Each year, several organizations publish an updated list of gluten-containing and gluten-free candy – many of them organized into popular categories like Halloween to help you narrow the search. Some of these lists also offer an overview of the manufacturing practices held by major producers that can help you better understand which products may or may not be a safe choice for you - BUT REMEMBER, these lists do not replace checking the label, which is always the safest way to check a product. That being said, they may help you identify which products to avoid altogether and those which you can potentially enjoy. For some people, this is critical and gluten must be avoided for health reasons such as celiac disease. For others, it may be less critical, but equally important for them to avoid gluten for any number of personal reasons. Perhaps you don’t avoid gluten at all and just want to choose a treat that works for everyone who comes knocking and doesn’t leave anyone feeling like they got a trick and not a treat!

Trick or Treat

You can find some pretty comprehensive lists online, but remember that manufacturing practices and ingredient lists vary from country to country, even between facilities for the same product. These lists are very specific to the time and place where they were written and can’t be relied upon for your avoidance of gluten and your health. You may recognize the product, but always check the label if you must avoid gluten for health reasons, or choose treats for those who do.

Some popular gluten-containing ingredients used in commercial candy production include malt, malt extract, malt syrup, malt flavouring, modified wheat starch, and plain old wheat flour. Many products rely on these processed ingredients to achieve their colour, texture and flavor. It is important to notice is the appearance of any high-risk ingredients that may not contain gluten themselves, but have more than likely become contaminated with gluten through processing. A big one to watch for in this category is the peanut, popularly appearing in many treats that may appear to be gluten-free. In this case, it is always best to check the package for gluten-free certification, contact the manufacturer, or avoid the risk and enjoy a different treat if you can’t be sure. Somewhat less popular (but let’s start something here!) is choosing healthier, inherently gluten-free treats that are seasonal and traditional like apples. 

Check out our Gluten-Free Shop today to explore gluten-free treats and over 1000 other gluten-free products from personal care to household products. 

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