November 17, 2016 Updated July 12, 2018
What They Do: Keep powdered foods free-flowing so they don't stick together, and prevent moisture absorption.
Some of these products could be considered real, such as baking soda or corn starch (depending on the exact form of these particular ingredients). However, most of the uses would not be considered real, and many will contain gluten. You need to step back from what the ingredient is sometimes, and see why it is used.
For example, corn starch is used to keep powdered sugar from clumping back together. If we step back and look at that, and where icing sugar is used, we'd see that corn starch, in small amounts, would be suitable to be used on a cake, with icing sugar icing. It may be somewhat processed, but it's not a completely foreign use. When you need to eat gluten free, this is one of the reasons why OTHER products that we wouldn't think of as having gluten, will in fact have gluten, and that's why you need to purchase only gluten free packaged foods.
On the other side of the coin, however, we find things like calcium silicate used as an anti caking agent to keep things from clumping together. This product is a rock, pure and simple, and is manufactured in a lab setting, and is not created in a kitchen. It's used to make things last longer, and have a nicer visual appeal. It is not added to improve the food, and would never be used in a home kitchen. It also often contains aluminum, which has been shown to be toxic to humans. When you have Celiac disease, you have a damaged digestive system, and these types of ingredients will put undue stress on your stomach, and will prevent it from healing, and from working at its best.
Most ingredients used for this purpose would not be considered real food, and many will contain gluten.
Click underlined ingredients to learn more, and find out more about what each item does in specific types of foods.
Found used in these foods to keep them from clumping or sticking together:
- Baking powder
- Confectioner's sugar
How it may be described on a label:
- Anticaking agent
- Anti-stick agent
- Drying agent
- Dusting agent
Examples of anticaking agents:
- Baking powder
- Calcium silicate
- Corn starch
- Disodium phosphate
- Iron ammonium citrate
- Modified cellulose
- Powdered cellulose
- Propolene glycol
- Silicon dioxide