Is white bread wheat free?

Ask the Diva: Is White Bread Lower in Gluten?

Q. “My mom’s doctor told her not to buy whole wheat breads because they contain a lot of wheat gluten. He advised her to look instead for breads that have wheat gluten as far down the ingredients list as she can find. Basically, he’s saying that wheat gluten is worse than white flour and that our first priority should be to minimize the gluten content of the bread. Can you help me out here?”

A. I’m afraid that this doctor’s advice makes absolutely no sense. If your mother has a gluten sensitivity or intolerance, then she should not be eating wheat bread of any kind, no matter where (or whether) “wheat gluten” appears in the ingredient list. Assuming she does not have a gluten sensitivity, she is better off eating whole wheat bread than white bread. Finally, the position of gluten in the ingredient list tells you nothing about the gluten content of the bread. Let me explain why.

Gluten is the protein in wheat that gives bread dough its strength and elasticity, allowing it to form air pockets and rise. Whole grain flours contain less gluten than refined white flour, which is why whole grain breads tend to be a lot heavier and denser. To compensate for this, bakers sometimes add additional gluten to whole wheat bread doughs. White bread that doesn’t list gluten in the ingredients may have more gluten than whole wheat bread that does. But, as I said, unless you have a gluten sensitivity, this is irrelevant.

See also: Gluten-Free Diets

Meanwhile, whole wheat bread offers several advantages: it contains more fiber and other nutrients and is more slowly digested and absorbed, which is better for your blood sugar levels. This is not license to eat more bread, however. As I explained in The Truth About Whole Grains, the amount of grain-based foods you eat matters more than whether they are whole or refined!

See also: When it White Bread Preferable to Whole Wheat?

Illustration:Mr. Biscuit

Considering that you can now find gluten-free everything, from Bisquick to bagels, it seems remarkable that our national obsession with the wheat protein that gives bread its elasticity is only about a decade old. Doctors have long known about a relatively rare condition called celiac disease, in which gluten damages the small intestine. But in recent years, best-selling books like Wheat Belly and Grain Brain have popularized the notion that gluten is the hidden culprit behind a host of hard-to-diagnose health problems, from indigestion to fatigue. Once you excise bread and other wheat products from your diet, the books claim, you’ll be on the path to everything from top mental performance to a svelte figure.

There’sno scientific consensuson how prevalent gluten sensitivity is, what triggers it, or even if it exists at all.

The message has been quite lucrative, and not just for publishers. According to the market research firm Mintel, sales of foods labeled “gluten-free” surged 44 percent between 2011 and 2013, reaching an estimated $10.5 billion. TGI Friday’s now offers an entire menu devoted to the category, complete with a burger served in a “gluten-sensitive bun.” Crave mac and cheese but avoiding gluten? Annie’s has you covered. Oreos? Boulder, Colorado-based Glutino offers a gluten-free knockoff (along with everything from breadcrumbs to Pop-Tart facsimiles).

Yet people have been growing, grinding, leavening, and baking wheat since the dawn of agriculture 10,000 years ago. It remains the globe’s most widely planted crop, serving as the main staple for a third of humanity. Is it really conceivable that it could have been slowly killing us all along?

Wheat Belly‘s author, cardiologist William Davis, claims that modern agricultural breeding has changed the nature of gluten, turning it toxic. He argues that wheat varieties developed in the 1960s and ’70s introduced a novel protein called gliadin that has led to all manner of chronic problems, including obesity and diabetes. Yet Davis’ claims have been roundly criticized by grain scientists. For that matter, there’s no scientific consensus on how prevalent gluten sensitivity is, what triggers it, or even if it exists at all.

Stephen Jones, a wheat breeder at Washington State University, suspects that we’ve been scapegoating the grain when we should be blaming the oven. Before I explain why, let me make clear that Jones is no apologist for Big Wheat. Back in 2003, the industry-dominated Washington Grain Commission threatened to stop funding his program after he refused to work with genetically modified varieties owned by the agrichemical giant BASF. He eschews conventional breeding—which he believes is all about generating bland strains tailored to the needs of corporate producers—for his own method, which prioritizes flavor.

In commercial bakeries, rising time has been winnowed from hours or even days down to mere minutes, thanks to fast-acting yeasts and additives.

Even so, Jones doesn’t buy the notion that the modern breeding he shuns is causing bad reactions to bread. “It’s not wheat itself,” he says, pointing to a 2013 study by the US Department of Agriculture that found “no evidence” of increasing levels of gluten in wheat over the decades. Rather, Jones believes that the true problem with bread is how we make it. In commercial bakeries, rising time has been winnowed from hours or even days down to mere minutes, thanks to fast-acting yeasts and additives. By contrast, the team in Jones’ laboratory, located in a rural stretch along Puget Sound, lets dough rise for as long as 12 hours—and they’ve found that the longer it rises, the less potent the gluten that remains in the finished bread.

What’s more, Jones points out, commercial bakers add a lot of extra gluten to their products. Read the label on any supermarket sliced bread—especially a whole-wheat one—and you’ll likely find “vital wheat gluten” among the top four ingredients. Because whole-wheat flour has a lower gluten density than white flour, industrial bakeries add extra gluten to make the bread more elastic, like white bread.

As whole-wheat bread has grown in popularity, so has vital wheat gluten use. US gluten imports—mostly from Australia, Canada, China, and Europe—more than doubled between 1997 and 2007, reaching 386 million pounds, and most of that went into baking. Donald Kasarda, a scientist with the USDA, estimates that our annual vital gluten intake per capita has tripled since 1977, from 0.3 pounds to 0.9 pounds—and Jones speculates that people who eat lots of commercially baked whole-wheat products may be getting more than their fair share.

Jones’ conjecture—that modern baking, not modern breeding, is responsible for the mysterious rise in gluten-related troubles—has not been proved correct. But then again, neither has any other explanation. Jones plans to continue his research, but in the meantime, with a test population of one, I conducted my own experiments with Jones’ method. I had drifted away from bread in recent years; it made me feel uncomfortably full. But when I made slow-fermented whole-wheat bread with a sourdough starter from Jones’ lab, I felt great—as I do when I eat loaves made by the increasing number of bakeries that use traditional methods and shun additives. No offense, but that sure beats the gluten-free menu.

“When you add baker’s yeast, that speeds the process of the rising of the bread, and it doesn’t give the fermenting event enough time to really happen,” Scarlata says. “It should be a 12-hour-plus process for best digestibility.”

The process also breaks down a carbohydrate found in wheat called fructan. “We know from our research that in a large proportion of people it’s the fructans in foods that they’re sensitive to as opposed to the gluten,” Varney says. When you limit foods containing gluten, you also limit exposure to fructans, which will help symptoms in those people.

What are the health benefits of sourdough?

Bacteria are often considered germs or disease agents, says Anne Madden, a researcher with the Sourdough Project at North Carolina State University’s Rob Dunn Lab. But often bacteria ward off other, harmful bacteria and help make some food more nutritious.

“Unlike standard yeast bread, sourdough has a community inside of it,” Madden says.

The process also increases the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals from the bread. As the dough ferments, it produces enzymes that break down phytic acid. Phytic acid can lead to gas production in those with IBS and can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, according to Kimbell in her new book The Sourdough School.

Basically, you poop out all the good stuff.

Last, if you’re trying to control your blood sugar, sourdough is a better option than fast-fermented breads. Research shows sourdough has higher levels of resistant starch than other breads, especially when whole grains are used. This means blood sugar levels spike less because it takes the body longer to digest the carbohydrates.

How do you know if it’s real sourdough?

If you’re not making your own sourdough, it can be hard to know if you’re getting the real deal. Some bread labeled sourdough just has a sour flavor added but is leavened with fast-rising yeast. Others don’t include a fermentation time on the package.

“If you’re buying it from a store, you’re buying blind,” Kimbell says. “When you say sourdough—because there’s actually no legal definition whatsoever—we’re open to interpretation. It’s not wrong. It’s just not transparent.”

Scarlata advises her fructan- and gluten-sensitive clients to read labels closely, avoid products with baker’s yeast, and call the bread producer directly to ask how the bread is leavened and for how long.

Want to make your own?

There are about a million recipes, instructional videos, and books on sourdough, but there is no “right” way to make a loaf, Kimbell says. The secret, it seems, is just practice. If you’re interested in delving into the world of sourdough, check out Kimbell’s (free) recipe, along with 50 other options, at (Or check out Alex the French Guy on YouTube, whose method I use.)

While the sourdough process makes bread easier on my gut, I still can’t eat as much as I want. Since I have a wheat intolerance, not an allergy, I have to limit my overall intake of fructans, which are also highly concentrated in garlic and onions. And if I’m eating bread, I exclude foods high in FODMAPs like apples, cauliflower, and beans, just to name a few.

I learned to make sourdough so I could set my own proving time to reduce the fructan load even more. Personally, I find a 24-hour rise is best for my digestion, but depending on individual sensitivity, Kimbell says bread can rise for up to between 36 to 48 hours.

“I have people who say just sourdough itself is easily digestible,” Kimbell says. “I have another lady who has colitis who couldn’t digest it after 12 hours, couldn’t digest it after 24 hours, but then did 36, and she’s now eating as much bread as she can stuff in her face because she’s eating bread for the first time in years.”

If you think you might be sensitive to fructans or other FODMAPs, consult a medical professional to rule out celiac or another gastrointestinal disorder. For an up-to-date guide on FODMAP foods, download the smartphone app designed by the Monash team for details on specific items.

Photo by Ed Samuel/

I know whole wheat bread and white bread are different, but how exactly?

There are two big differences: how they’’re processed and how healthful they are. The flour for both is made from wheat berries, which have three nutrient-rich parts: the bran (the outer layers), the germ (the innermost area) and the endosperm (the starchy part in between). Whole wheat is processed to include all three nutritious parts, but white flour uses only the endosperm. When put head-to-head with whole wheat bread, white is a nutritional lightweight. Whole wheat is much higher in fiber, vitamins B6 and E, magnesium, zinc, folic acid and chromium.
But of all these nutritional goodies, fiber is the star:

  • In a 10-year Harvard study completed in 1994, men and women who ate high-fiber breads had fewer heart attacks and strokes than those whose tastes ran to bagels and baguettes.
  • Simply switching from white to whole wheat bread can lower heart disease risk by 20 percent, according to research from the University of Washington reported in the April 2, 2003 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.
  • Fiber has long been known to aid digestive health too.
  • Fiber can help you lose or maintain weight because eating fiber-dense wheat bread helps you feel full.

But a lot of white bread is enriched. Doesn’t that take care of the nutrients lost during refining?

Nope. When flour is refined, it loses the most nutritious parts of the grain—the fiber, essential fatty acids, and most of the vitamins and minerals. In fact, about 30 nutrients are removed, but by law only five must be added back (though others often are): iron, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin and folic acid. There’s so little fiber left after processing that you’’d have to eat eight pieces of white bread to get the fiber in just one piece of whole wheat bread.

Other foods besides whole grains have fiber and nutrients. Can’’t I just get what I need from them and still enjoy my dinner rolls?
Whole grains provide health benefits that other foods don’t. In a Harvard study of 75,000 nurses, those who ate at least three servings a day of whole grains cut their heart attack risk by 35 percent and were less likely to get into weight or bowel trouble. By contrast, those who ate more processed foods—such as white bread, white rice and sodas—were more than twice as likely to develop diabetes. “Science continues to support the key role of whole grains in reducing chronic illnesses,” says Len Marquart, professor of nutrition at the University of Minnesota and author of the first health claim for whole grains approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

How can I tell if bread is really whole wheat?
Color used to be a clue, but no more. Although white bread is white because it’s been bleached, some dark bread has just had caramel coloring added to it. Look for “whole grain” or “whole wheat” as the first ingredient on the label. If any other ingredient is first, put the loaf back and keep looking.

Is bread a vegan food?
Not usually. Many of the breads sold in grocery stores contain non-vegan ingredients, including milk, eggs, honey, shortening or whey, —not to mention sodium stearyl lactylate, glycerides, emulsifiers, natural flavorings, artificial flavorings and lactase, all of which may be derived from animals. Vegans often have better luck at bakeries but still need to ask if the bread pans are greased with animal fat. If you like to bake, you can make your own bread. But if that doesn’t interest you, try Rudi’s Organic, Nature’s Path or Brownberry; —they all produce vegan breads available nationwide.

Try making your own healthy bread at home. Here are a few recipes:

  • Clean Whole Wheat Bread
  • Rye ‘n’ Oat Soda Energy Bread
  • Sweet Potato Bread
  • Grain-Free Sandwich Bread

When it comes to heathy foods, the rules are always changing. Fat was the enemy, then it was sugar. “Eat more protein” turned into “eat less meat.” But we’ve always seemed to agree that wheat bread is healthier than white bread. For better or worse, that too might be a myth.

In his new book, Modernist Bread, Nathan Myhrvold makes the bold claim that wheat bread is no better for you than white bread. Myhrvold, former Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft, has spent the last 15 years advancing the culinary field through science. His Modernist Cuisine team of scientists and chefs have been known to test 100 versions of a recipe or cut an entire oven in half if they think it will prove a point. Their first book, Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, won the James Beard Award for Cookbook of the Year in 2012, ushering in a wave of science-based cooking. So when Myhrvold makes a declaration, it’s not just a hunch.

This particular declaration, however, turns our most basic thinking upside-down. “If you made a list of what everybody knows to be true about nutrition, one of those things would be that whole grain breads are both more nutritious and better for you, health-wise,” says Myhrvold. “And, unfortunately, there’s no evidence of either one, and kind of evidence to the contrary.”

The first volume of Modernist Bread

Photo by Nathan Myhrvold

After sifting through 50 years of studies, the Modernist Cuisine team found that all types of breads have pretty much the same result on your body. It starts with the difference between white and wheat bread. Every kernel of wheat has an outside (bran) and an inside (the large endosperm and a much smaller sprouting germ). White flour is made by separating the bran and germ from the endosperm by smashing it in a flour mill and sifting them apart, saving only the endosperm. For whole wheat bread, the two parts are still separated, but in the final product, they get mixed back together. The addition of the bran gives wheat its darker color.

It’s long been thought that the bran was the healthy part of bread because it contained more fiber and vitamins. But it was a theory that never held weight in any controlled study. “If you look on a nutrient-by-nutrient basis,” Myhrvold explains, “there’s a couple things that would be slightly better on,” including vitamins like manganese, phosphorus, and selenium, “but they’re generally not important in the sense that they’re not things most people run a deficit of.”

If Myhrvold is right, how were the rest of us so wrong? The notion that wheat is better than white started with a doctor, Denis Parsons Burkitt, whose 1979 book Don’t Forget Fibre in Your Diet, became an international best seller. The book was based on the idea that fiber—which comes from the bran in wheat bread—prevented certain cancers. By the end of the next decade, health professionals were all on the whole-grain bandwagon, touting not just cancer prevention but the overall health benefits of whole wheat. But most of Dr. Burkitt’s research was based on anecdotal work he did as a missionary in Africa, and later studies (including the groundbreaking Nurses’ Health Study that followed more than 88,000 women for 16 years) proved this to be false.

As for the other health claims, through fecal analysis and blood tests, we can see that our bodies don’t absorb many of the vitamins and minerals in raw grain. “Human digestion doesn’t break down in the same way that a chemical analysis does,” says Myhrvold. So a lot of the nutrients that are supposedly advantageous in bran aren’t actually absorbed by humans, such as vitamins like zinc, iron, and calcium. And a compound in bran called phytates can actually bind to some of the potentially beneficial minerals to block absorption. It’s called the antinutrient effect, and it’s just as depressing as its name suggests.

Many people reach for whole grains because they take longer to digest and don’t spike blood sugar the way refined carbohydrates do. Whitney English, MS, RND, explains that the fiber “causes starch to break down more slowly in the gut than simple sugar. Therefore, it is absorbed and released into the bloodstream more slowly. This prevents blood sugar spikes and results in a longer, steadier flow of glucose into the body.” Still, Myhrvold points out that even whole grain bread is only 11% bran, and he believes the effect on blood glucose is minimal.

Regardless, it’s important to remember that not all bread is created equal—loaves with added sweeteners like honey and corn syrup will certainly give a blood sugar spike, and there are preservatives and other additives in many grocery store brands. Whether you go white or wheat, the only ingredients in your bread should be words you recognize.

Bread Substitutes for Wheat Allergy

Wheat allergy is one of the most prevalent allergies, especially among children. Symptoms of wheat allergy include itching, hives, headaches, weight gain, fatigue, abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, and joint pain. These symptoms can manifest themselves within minutes or, at most, within hours of wheat consumption. One important thing to note is that a wheat allergy is not the same as a wheat intolerance or celiac disease; a wheat free diet is not necessarily the same as a gluten free diet. Bread manufacturers may extract gluten from wheat flour to create a loaf of bread that is gluten free, yet still containing wheat. Instead, a wheat allergy is an allergic reaction to wheat or one of its components, such as albumin, globulin, and gliadin. Wheat allergy, in the most extreme cases, can be life-threatening though unfortunately wheat seems to be in almost every food product. From crackers to cookies and pastries to pastas, wheat is everywhere. Consequently, affected individuals must seek out alternative products and bread substitutes for wheat allergy.

See full recipe here

The ten most common wheat grain substitutes for someone with wheat allergy include:

  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Millet
  • Chia
  • Flax Seeds
  • Amaranth
  • Sorghum
  • Teff
  • Buckwheat
  • Some Oats

Due to genetic modifications of wheat over the last few decades, more and more people are developing wheat allergies and have a difficult time digesting the strains of wheat used in products today. As an alternative, Food For Life manufactures natural, healthy food products from these substitutes to serve those struggling with wheat allergy and restore the nutritional value of bread. Using these wheat substitutes, Food For Life offers Sprouted For Life gluten free breads which are made from sprouted chia, quinoa and millet as well as multiple brown rice based products with simple basic ingredient lists. The list of Food For Life wheat free foods include:

  • Gluten Free Sprouted For Life Breads
  • Gluten Free Rice Breads
  • Gluten Free Brown Rice Tortillas
  • Gluten Free Black Rice Tortillas
  • Gluten Free English Muffins – Brown Rice and Multi Seed

These products are healthy alternatives for those with a wheat allergy and are all supportive of a vegan diet. These breads also go through the sprouted grain process, meaning that when you eat sprouted grain bread, you are eating bread with grains that are brought to life. This living grain breaks down the starch surrounding it through the sprouting process and, as a result, the protein content, mineral content, and vitamin content of the grain are more quickly absorbed into your system. The sprouted grains and legumes in sprouted grain bread have been known to give increased iron, antioxidants, vitamin C, and vitamin B. There is no healthier wheat free bread on the market.

Find a location near you that sells Food for Life products and start enjoying the benefits of bread substitutes for wheat allergy today!

Wheat Allergy Diet for Children

General guidelines for wheat allergy

When your child has a food allergy, he or she must follow an allergy-free diet. This means your child can’t have the food they are allergic to, or any products containing that food. The items that your child is allergic to are called allergens.

A wheat allergy is the immune system’s abnormal response to the protein found in wheat. Wheat products are found in many foods. To stay away from foods that contain wheat, it is important to read food labels. Foods regulated by the FDA must follow the federal Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA). This requires that food labels list wheat in the list of ingredients on products that contain wheat. Some manufactures voluntarily include statements such as “may contain wheat” or “may be made in a facility with wheat.”

The lists below may not contain all food and personal care products that could contain wheat. But they can help guide your food decisions. It is up to you to carefully read all food labels.



Not allowed


Coffee, tea, fruit juices, decaffeinated coffee, carbonated drinks, all milks, cocoa

Cereal drinks, coffee substitutes

Drinks made from wheat products: beer, ale, root beer

Instant chocolate drink mixes

Breads & cereals

Rye crackers, rice wafers

Pure corn, rice, arrowroot, barley, potato, or rye bread made without wheat flour or wheat products

Cornmeal, cornstarch, soybean flour, barley flour, oat flour, rice flour, potato starch, arrowroot flour

Oatmeal, cream of rice, puffed rice, or other cereals made from pure corn, oats, or rice, which have no added wheat

Whole wheat, enriched, or white bread, rolls, or bread crumbs

Graham or gluten bread

Donuts, sweet rolls, muffins, French toast, waffles, pancakes, dumplings, bread stuffing, rusk, popovers

Prepared mixes for pancakes, waffles, biscuits, breads, and rolls

Cornbread, potato, or soybean bread unless made without wheat flour or wheat products

Cereals made from farina, wheat, or those with wheat products or malt added

Pretzels, crackers

Semolina, spelt, or triticale


Custards, Bavarian creams

Oatmeal, arrowroot, rice, or rye cookies made without wheat products

Cornstarch, tapioca, or rice puddings

Water or fruit ices, meringues


Cakes, pastries, commercial frosting, icing, ice cream, sherbet, ice cream cones

Cookies, prepared mixes, or packaged pudding containing wheat flour

Graham crackers, donuts


Eggs made any way without wheat products

Souffles or creamed eggs made with wheat products


Butter, margarine, animal, or vegetable fats and oils, cream

Salad dressings or gravy made without wheat flour or products

Any salad dressing or gravy thickened with wheat flour or products


All fresh, canned, dried, or frozen fruits, and fruit juices

Strained fruits with added cereals

Meat, fish, poultry

Baked, broiled, boiled, roasted, or fried: beef, veal, pork, ham, chicken, turkey, lamb, or fish

“All meat” hot dogs or lunch meats made without wheat flour fillers or wheat products

All breaded or floured meats, meats containing filler, such as meatloaf, frankfurters, sausage, luncheon meats, bologna, or prepared meat patties

Milk & milk products

Milk, buttermilk, yogurt, cheese, some cottage cheese

Malted milk, milk drinks containing powdered wheat cereal or products

Cottage cheese with modified starch or other wheat-containing ingredients

Potatoes & substitutes

White and sweet potatoes


Scalloped potatoes

Noodles, spaghetti, macaroni, and other pasta products prepared with wheat or semolina flour


Clear bouillon, consomme, or broth

Homemade soups made without wheat products

Cream soups unless made without wheat flour

Soups with noodles, alphabets, dumplings, or spaghetti

Soup thickened with wheat flour


Corn syrup, honey, jams, jellies, molasses, sugar

Chocolates, chocolate candy containing malt, candy with cereal extract


All fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables, and vegetable juices

Vegetables combined with wheat products

Breaded or floured vegetables


Salt, chili powder, condiments, flavoring extracts, herbs, nuts, olives, pickles, popcorn, peanut butter

Malt products, Worcestershire sauce, gravies thickened with wheat flour

Monosodium glutamate (MSG), meat tenderizers containing MSG, prepared Asian food seasoned with MSG, soy sauce

How to read a label for a wheat-free diet

Stay away from foods that contain any of the following ingredients:

  • Bran

  • Bread crumbs

  • Bulgur

  • Cereal extract

  • Couscous

  • Cracker meal

  • Durum, Durum flours (a type of wheat)

  • Einkorn (a type of wheat)

  • Emmer (a type of farro)

  • Enriched flour

  • Farina

  • Flour (all purpose, bread, cake, instant, pastry, self-rising, soft wheat, steel ground, whole wheat)

  • Gluten

  • Graham flour

  • High gluten flour

  • High protein flour

  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein

  • Matzoh, matzoh meal

  • Pasta

  • Seitan

  • Semolina (a type of wheat)

  • Spelt (a type of wheat)

  • Sprouted wheat

  • Triticale (a type of wheat)

  • Vital gluten

  • Wheat bran

  • Wheat durum

  • Wheat germ

  • Wheat gluten

  • Wheat grass

  • Wheat malt

  • Wheat protein isolate

  • Wheat sprouts

  • Wheat starch

  • Whole wheat berries

  • Whole wheat flour

Other possible sources of wheat or wheat products

Ingredients that may mean the presence of wheat protein include the following:

  • Gelatinized starch

  • Glucose

  • Gum

  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein

  • Kamut

  • Modified food starch

  • Modified starch

  • Natural flavoring

  • Oats

  • Soy sauce

  • Starch

  • Surimi

  • Textured vegetable protein

  • Vegetable starch

One of the Top 8. A food allergy that also is commonly confused with Celiac Disease or gluten-related disorders. However, a wheat allergy is completely different than any autoimmune disease or reaction to the protein of gluten. For example, someone with a what allergy can still eat rye, but not someone with Celiac. The biggest and most clearly important difference between a wheat allergy and an gluten disorder is that fact that it is a food allergy, and not an abnormal autoimmune reaction.

Wheat Allergy: A food protein stimulates the immune system to overreact, causing an allergic reaction that can have potentially fatal consequences. Symptoms include anaphylaxis, swelling, trouble breathing, hives, itching, cough, rash, shock, etc.

Celiac Disease: An autoimmune response to the protein gluten. This is an immune reaction that triggers an attack on the body, not the protein. Thus, autoimmune and not a food allergy.

If you have a wheat allergy, you are usually safe with all other grains but wheat and its derivatives. (Some people (20%) with wheat allergies, in rare cases, are sensitive to other grains as well.) So here is the list for food names and ingredients to look out for and avoid when you have a wheat allergy (not Celiac disease or gluten disorder).

As you can see, the list is very long, but does not contain the same things as the list of no-gluten. Someone with a wheat allergy can’t have wheat grass, yet it is presumed to be safe for someone with Celiac (although I’m still skeptical and like most Celiacs, stay far away)! So to conclude, a wheat allergy is a food allergy. It may be mild or severe enough and require an Epi-Pen. Celiac Disease is an autoimmune response to gluten, triggering an attack on the body (small intestine) and no Epi-Pen or Benadryl will help!

***Check out the other “What To Avoid” posts: Soy – Egg – Dairy – Corn – Celiac Disease***

So tell me:

+ Do you have (or know someone) with a wheat allergy?

+ Random, but I must ask, did you like Play-Doh as a kid? Did you ever eat it? Yes and yes! Well I don’t know if I actually ate it, but I did taste it. Very salty from what I remember! 😛

Sources and more info:




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Living With Food Allergies

Wheat Allergy

There are no good data about how many children have an allergy to wheat. Even so, wheat is a grain that has been reported to trigger allergy symptoms. Children with a wheat allergy must avoid wheat in all forms.

How to Read a Label for Wheat

Always read the entire ingredient label to look for the names of wheat. Wheat ingredients may be within the list of the ingredients. Or it could be listed in a “Contains: Wheat” statement beneath the list of ingredients. The federal Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) requires this. Learn more about the U.S. food allergen labeling law.

FALCPA requires that all packaged foods regulated by the FDA must list “wheat” clearly on the ingredient label if it contains wheat. Advisory statements such as “may contain wheat” or “made in a facility with wheat” are voluntary. Advisory statements are not required by any federal labeling law. Discuss with your doctor if you may eat products with these labels or if you should avoid them.

Did you know that bulgur, malt, and seitan all contain wheat? Wheat may be an added ingredient in flours, baked goods and other products made with alternative grains, such as rice crackers. The FDA food allergen label law requires foods to state if they contain a top 8 allergen such as wheat. But, there are many foods and products that are not covered by the law, so it is still important to know how to read a label for wheat ingredients. Products exempt from plain English labeling rules: (1) Foods that are not regulated by the FDA. (2) Cosmetics and personal care items. (3) Prescription and over-the-counter medications. (4) Toys, crafts and pet food. Download and print our Wheat Allergy Avoidance List and Travel Cards to carry with you and share.


The following ingredients found on a label indicate the presence of wheat. All labels should be read carefully before consuming a product, even if it has been used safely in the past.

All purpose flour
Bread — any type made with white flour, wheat flour; bread crumbs
Cereal extract
Cracker meal
Emmer – also known as farro
Flour — atta, club, common, durum, einkorn, emmer, farina, graham, kamut, maida, semolina, spelt, triticale, triticum
Flour — all purpose, bread, bromated, cake, enriched, high gluten, high protein, instant pastry, phosphated, plain, soft wheat, steel ground, stone, ground, self-rising, unbleached, white, whole wheat
Gluten — wheat gluten, vital gluten, vital wheat gluten, fu
Kamut ® — khorasan wheat
Malt, malt extract
Matzo — Matzo meal (also spelled as matzoh, matzah, or matza)
Noodles, pasta
Wheat, whole wheat — wheat berries, wheat bran, whole wheat bread, whole wheat flour, wheat germ, wheat germ oil, wheat protein isolate, wheat starch, wheat sprouts, sprouted wheat


Artificial flavoring, natural flavoring
Caramel color
Food starch*, gelatinized starch, modified starch, modified food starch, vegetable starch
Glucose syrup
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
Monosodium glutamate, MSG
Soy sauce, shoyu, tamari, teriyaki sauce
Textured vegetable protein
Vegetable gum
However, if the product is an FDA regulated food, the word “Wheat” must appear on the label.

*Unless otherwise stated on the food label, the single word “starch” in an ingredient list means corn starch. Starches from other sources should be designated by some non-misleading term that indicates the source of such starch, for example, “wheat starch.” See: Starches Common or Usual Names (FDA)

**Wheat-free and gluten-free oats can be found from special suppliers.

Celiac Disease and Gluten

Celiac disease is not the same as wheat allergy. Wheat allergy is an immediate immune system reaction to wheat protein. Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease. People with celiac disease cannot eat gluten, one of the proteins found in wheat, barley and rye. When someone with celiac disease eats gluten, it damages their small intestine. The damage then interferes with absorption of nutrients from food.

If you think your body is reacting poorly to wheat and you are suspecting a problem with gluten, it is best not to self-diagnose. Check with your doctor and make certain you do not have a wheat allergy, celiac disease, or some other condition before starting a modified diet.

Cross Reactivity: Do You Need to Avoid Foods Related to Wheat?

Cross-reactivity occurs when the proteins in one food are similar to the proteins in another. When that happens, the body’s immune system sees them as the same.

With respect to grains like wheat, there is a 20% chance of an allergy to another grain if allergic to one of them. Examples of other grains are barley, rice, corn or oats.¹

Nutrition for a Wheat-Free Diet

Grains contain protein, and when fortified, a good variety of vitamins and minerals. Some minerals in grains include B vitamins and iron. The milling process for grains can also remove important nutrients. So, make sure you choose fortified and enriched grains that replace these nutrients. A serving or two of an enriched and fortified grain at each meal will contribute to meeting important nutritional needs for B vitamins, folacin and iron.

(if not allergic)
B Vitamins, Iron Protein foods: meats, fish, poultry, legumes, eggs, dairy (if safe for your child);
fruit, vegetables, leafy greens, fortified alternate grain products (rice, corn, oats, barley, buckwheat)

Wheat Substitutions in Recipes

Look for fortified and enriched grains can provide the nutrients missed by avoiding wheat. You can substitute flours from alternate grains in recipes to provide the same nutrients as wheat. Using wheat-free alternative flours can be tricky. Follow recipes carefully and become familiar with using alternative grains in recipes.

Learn more about using WHEAT SUBSTITUTES.

Wheat-Free Recipes

Over 1,000 wheat-free recipes are available in KFA’s Safe Eats™ Recipes. Search for Wheat-Free Recipes

Kathy P’s Wacky Cake

Annika’s Yellow Cake

Annika’s Moist Cocoa Cake

Medical review March 2015.

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