Have you ever been diagnosed with a food allergy or sensitivity, which makes it hard to eat out or shop for packaged foods? The lack of menu labeling, or a knowledge deficit of your server make it hard to know which foods may contain gluten. However, the Nima gluten sensor is here to help! Nima is Persian and means fair or equal so everyone can feel like they have a place at the table. Nima does this by reducing the stress and anxiety that comes with knowing with foods are safe and unsafe, making eating out an enjoyable experience! It detects gluten by looking for a specific antigen that quantifies the amount of gluten in the food. I tested a few hidden sources of gluten that you need to be cautious of when consuming!

How to use the gluten sensor:

Step 1:

Place a pea-sized amount of food or liquid in the capsule. The foods that cannot be detected in the sensor are hydrolyzed wheat and fermented foods/beverages such as soy sauce, and alcohol.

Step 2:

Screw on the lid until it clicks, and the green line on the capsule is no longer visible

Step 3:

Place the capsule in the nima sensor until it fits snug, and press the button on the sensor to first turn it on, then begin the test.

Step 4:


Wait for about 3 minutes for the test to complete (the sensor will make noise, but that is completely normal!). The results of the test will appear on the sensor as either a smiley face, which indicates no gluten, or the screen will display gluten found.

Foods I tested

Salad dressing

Salad dressing is definitely something that people overlook when they think of foods that contain gluten! Many dressings contain soy sauce, or thickeners that contain gluten making it vital to ask your server about gluten. Fortunately, my favorite dressing is gluten free

French fries

Another commonly overlooked gluten containing food are french fries because they are simply potatoes. Cross contamination between fryers, and added flavorings make most fries unsafe for people avoiding gluten. Make sure to ask restaurants if they have a dedicated gluten free fryer! I tested McDonalds French fries, which came back gluten free. However, they DO in fact contain gluten in the form of hydrolyzed wheat, which cannot be detected by the Nima sensor! If you purchase this sensor, be sure to read the limitations of foods to test.

Chic fil a, and five guys are examples of fast food chains if you really need your fix of fries!


Licorice is a common candy favorite that I have been noticing recently, but wheat isn’t the first ingredient that comes to mind when you think of licorice! Some licorice products may not indicate gluten on the label, so label reading becomes extremely vital for packaged foods, especially candies.


Oats themselves are naturally gluten free, but cross contamination becomes a large issue with oats. I tested oats what were not certified gluten free, but still came out to be gluten free! The results can vary for brands however, so if you are following a strict gluten free diet, it is recommended to consume certified gluten free oats, such as Bob’s red mill!

There are numerous hidden sources of gluten out there such as oats, malt flavoring and beverages, cosmetics, alcoholic beverages, and more. Learning what ingredients to look for, as well as common hidden culprits is essential to successfully avoiding gluten!


Do you need help eliminating gluten from your diet due to an allergy or sensitivity while still staying nourished? Our dietitians can help! Make an appointment with one of our RDs by clicking here or calling 301-474-2499. 


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