Wheat Allergies: What to Look Out For

June 13, 2011

Wheat is a staple ingrendient in the American diet. Here are some tips for those with wheat allergies.

Leading an allergy friendly life is necessary for many people, whether they have an allergy themselves or someone in the family, avoiding allergens is a must. SupermarketGuru has compiled a list of the things you must know when shopping for an allergy.  This article is solely about wheat allergies, but look back at our allergy friendly columns for info on other allergies.

Wheat allergies are for the most part, more common in children and usually outgrown before adulthood.  Wheat allergies are sometimes confused with celiac disease, as explained by the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, which is a digestive disorder that creates an adverse reaction to gluten. Individuals with celiac disease must avoid gluten, found in wheat, rye, barley, and sometimes oats. People who are allergic to wheat have a different (IgE-mediated) response to wheat protein and may tolerate other grains.

Symptoms of a wheat allergy can range from mild (eg hives, sinus issues, fatigue and more) to severe, therefore those with a wheat allergy must read food labels carefully, even if you would not expect the product to contain wheat. Wheat can sometimes be found in some brands of ice cream, marinara sauce, salad dressings, marinades, potato chips, rice cakes, turkey patties, and some hot dogs and sausages.

So what should you look out for on food labels? Avoid foods that contain wheat in the ingredient list or any of the following: bread crumbs, bulgur, cereal extract, couscous, cracker meal, durum, einkorn, emmer, farina, flour (including: all purpose, bread, cake, durum, enriched, graham, high gluten, high protein, instant, pastry, self-rising, soft wheat, steel ground, stone ground, whole wheat), hydrolyzed wheat protein, Kamut, matzoh, seitan, semolina, spelt, sprouted wheat, triticale, vital wheat gluten, wheat bran hydrolysate, wheat germ oil, and wheat protein isolate.

Wheat can also sometimes be found in: glucose syrup, soy sauce, and starch (gelatinized starch, modified starch, modified food starch, vegetable starch).  Some types of imitation crabmeat contain wheat; wheat flour is sometimes flavored and shaped to look like beef, pork, and shrimp, especially in Asian dishes.

In planning a wheat-free diet, look for alternate grains such as amaranth, barley, corn, oat, quinoa, rice, rye, buckwheat and tapioca.

Keep in mind that allergies are individual and it is important to discuss with your physician how to go about testing various “safe” wheat foods so that you can find out what works for you.

If you are dining out, sending your child to school, a friend’s house, and more you may find our Food Allergy Buddy & Celiac BFF very useful.


The information in this article was provided by the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network.

*What’s the difference between celiac disease and wheat allergy?
Celiac disease and wheat allergy are two distinct conditions. Celiac disease, or "celiac sprue," is a permanent adverse reaction to gluten. Those with celiac disease will not lose their sensitivity to this substance. This disease requires a lifelong restriction of gluten