Misleading Words

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“You keep using that word, I donna think it means what you think it means”

–Indigo Montoya in the Princess Bride

Many foods have misleading names.  This article lists some of the misleading names which are important for food allergy sufferers

There are a number of misleading food names which can be tricky for persons with allergies to navigate.  I will call out some here but please enter others in the comments.  If you comment on this article and list something that I was not aware of or had forgotten and you do not tell me otherwise in the comment, I will update the article with your information and give you credit.


100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil Spray and other aerosol cooking sprays

Almost all of these have Soy Lecithin listed as an ingredient on the label in the back.  If soy is a problem you should avoid these.  There is soy in almost all spray oils.  The only exceptions I seen that are commonly available are some of the high temperature ones designed for use on BBQ grills.   Pump sprays are also available which you can load with pure oils.


Fat Free

Ideally if something says on the front of the item that it is fat free, that would mean it has no fat in it.  If you had an allergy to something like coconut oil, it would be safe to eat.  However, with some exceptions, if an item has less than ½ gram of fat per standard serving it can be labeled fat free.  At one time there were items in the supermarket labeled as fat free even when the item was mostly composed of fat.  Some spray oils were labeled fat free because only a small amount of the item was consumed at as a single serving.

Powdered sugar

From the name, you would expect that it was just sugar that had been ground extremely finely.  However corn starch or wheat or some other ingredients are added to keep the sugar from caking

Glutinous rice (and flour)

Glutinous means sticky.  This comes from a different species of rice.  It is more sticky than regular rice.  It does not contain gluten or the proteins that form gluten.  Sometimes called sweet rice and sweet rice flour.

Glutinous corn

Similar situation to glutinous rice.  Just a name for a specific breed of corn.  This corn is also called waxy corn.  It has a different makeup chemically from other corn.  It is available in some Asian markets on the cob in the refrigerated section.  It does not contain gluten.  For more information seehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waxy_corn  I cooked some as if it was corn on the cob and I did not like the taste and texture but you may feel differently


A grain that is not related to wheat and does not produce gluten.  I was afraid of trying this because I had not been tested to see if I was allergic.  Turns out the plant is not even a grass.  It has leaves and flowers

Dry Non-Dairy Creamer

All the packages I have seen lately have had a warning in small print on the label that they contain milk products or milk.

Wild Rice

A grain that is technically not rice.  Not sure if most people who have an allergy to rice would be able to eat this.  If I had a rice allergy I would not try it without my doctor’s advice.

Natural Flavoring

Some limits because if too processed it would be artificial flavoring but otherwise I think this can be about anything.  If it includes one of the 8 proscribed allergens it should be broken out in a contains statement

Tuna in water

I have and allergy to carrots.  It is not sever but I should not be planning to do anything important the next day.  I was sick frequently one summer until I started reading the detailed ingredients list on the back on the tuna cans.  They really should say chunk tuna in broth. Almost all of the canned tuna you can find in the stores has vegetable broth in it. Most do not say what is in the broth. If it has soy in it they have to detail that out.  Some cans are just tuna inwater but they are frequently twice the price of the normal name brand tuna.

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