Are You Wheat Intolerant?

Are You Wheat Intolerant?

While grains and wheat can be a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals (especially vitamin B complex, chromium and zinc), they have also been known to wreak havoc on many digestive systems.

If you suspect you have a wheat intolerance, avoiding foods containing these substance for a three month period may just be the break you need for your intestinal tract to heal.

If you can’t imagine your life without grains or wheat, considering doing a Food Intolerance/Sensitivity Test. It’s an easy way to quickly determine what foods are causing you discomfort. Physiological responses that do not produce an immediate immune (allergic) reaction are often referred to as ‘food intolerances’. They can be caused by sensitivities to certain chemicals/additives found in food, or more commonly due to enzyme deficiencies.





immune system produces antibodies
immune system produces antibodies
involves IgE antibodies
involves IgG antibodies
immediate response – within an hour
delayed reaction – hours to days
obvious symptoms
subtle symptoms
not common
very common
similar symptoms
varying symptoms
generally non-reversible
can evolve at any age; reversible
well recognized by medical science      
starting to be recognized by medical science

Food Allergy

(Not common) 

An immune reaction that is characterized by the production of IgE antibodies and the release of histamine, and other chemical mediators, upon exposure to an allergen (the invading food). They are responsible for the ‘immediate-onset’ of symptoms that can occur within seconds or minutes following ingestion of certain foods as well as environmental stimuli.

Symptoms often associated with a classical ‘allergic response’ include:

Rashes, sneezing, difficulty in breathing and anaphylactic shock. It is usually obvious which foods are responsible for a food allergy and these have to be avoided for life.


Food Sensitivities

(Very common) 

Also known as IgG-mediated allergy/food intolerance/food hypersensitivity. These reactions are characterised by the production of IgG antibodies and the gradual formation of antigen/antibody complexes which are deposited in tissues, causing chronic inflammation. They are responsible for the ‘delayed-onset’ of symptoms, which can occur several hours or days after foods are ingested.

Symptoms include:

Anxiety, depression, IBS, headaches/migraines, fatigue, hypertension, acne, eczema, hives, rashes, asthma, joint paint, arthritis, food cravings, weight problems, fibromyalgia, digestive issues, cramps, bloating, gas, heartburn, constipation & diarrhea, recurring colds, sinus, ear & yeast infections, chronic congestion, post nasal drip, sneezing, hay fever, autoimmune disorders, MS, arthritis, increased blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms.


The good news it that is possible to eliminate the offending food(s) from the diet for a short period of time and then gradually re-introduce them when symptoms have improved.


How to Avoid Wheat

Wheat can be found in many foods. It’s best to avoid the following foods:

  • Breakfast cereals
  • Beer, stout, lager and most spirits
  • Pizza, pasta, pastries and Yorkshire puddings
  • Ice-cream, powdered drinks, malted drinks, chocolate bars, liquorices and puddings
  • Breads, rolls, chapatis, naan breads, crumpets, scones, pancakes, wafers, cakes, biscuits
  • Wheat is also found in many convenience foods such as; Soups, sauces, spices, processed meats, ready-made meals (including burgers), oven chips, salami, sausages, scotch eggs, meat or fish coated in breadcrumbs, corned beef, pates and spreads, crisps, commercial sauces, salad dressings, ham, gravy, stock cubes, herbs, spices, baking powder, tinned foods (including beans), spaghetti and soup


Wheat is hidden in many foods, so it is important to read the ingredients label carefully before purchase. Below are some ingredients that should be avoided:

  • Binder or brown flour
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Bulgar wheat, triticale, kamut, spelt, cracked wheat or kibbled wheat
  • Couscous, wheat bran, durum wheat or semolina
  • Gum base
  • Hydrolysed wheat protein or wheat gluten
  • Rusk, wheat starch, modified starch, food starch, wheat flakes or edible starch
  • Whole wheat or puffed wheat
  • Wheat germ our or unbleached 
  • Wheat germ oil or wheat germ extract
  • Wholegrain or wholemeal our


Wheat Alternatives

While avoiding intolerant foods can be challenging, alternative foods can be eaten to ensure that an enjoyable, varied and healthy diet is adopted:

Breads – wheat-free bread is now widely available and generally made from rice our, rye our or blended from potatoes and corn. These types of bread contain the essential B vitamins, iron and folic acid that are found in wheat bread. Choose from 100% rye bread, pumpernickel or rye/barley soda bread. Crackers or crispbreads such as rye crispbreads, oatcakes, corn cakes and rice cakes can be used in place of bread for meals and snacks.

Pasta – choose pasta made from rice, quinoa, corn or buckwheat, which all also contain B vitamins. Noodles are also available in buckwheat or rice.

Biscuits – a wide range of biscuits are available that are made from maize or oats, and can be either sweet or savoury.

Breakfast cereals – a wide selection of cereals are available that do not contain wheat, such as cornflakes, wheat-free muesli, porridge oats, millet puffs, brown rice puffs, puffed buckwheat, shredded oaty bites and quinoa flakes. These all provide a good source of B vitamins and iron.

Batter and breadcrumbs (made from wheat flour) – use wheat-free bread or corn flakes to make bread crumbs instead.

Sausages – usually contain wheat rusk but rice rusk is used in some wheat-free alternatives available in supermarkets, butchers shops and meat producers at farmers markets.

Japanese, Chinese and Thai dishes (containing soy sauce) – soy sauce is produced using wheat. At home, try Japanese Tamari soy sauce which is made without wheat or coconut aminos which is a healthy soy tasting substitute.

Gravy – use vegetable stock or wheat-free stock tablets and thicken with rice, chickpea or almond  flour. If a brown gravy is preferred, add gravy browning. Wheat/gluten-free instant gravy powders are also available.

Sauces – to make a white sauce use another wheat-free flour (rice, chickpea, almond, coconut).

Baking – There are many foods that can be used as a substitute to wheat that provide variety to meals and essential nutrients. Ingredients that can be used in many recipes instead of wheat include: Bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar, tapioca, gelatine or vegegel based desserts, pure spices, corn flour, rice and arrowroot; amaranth; potato our; barley (flakes or our); quinoa; buckwheat (flakes or our); rice grains (flakes or our); corn (cornflour, maize band polenta); rye; ground nuts (e.g. almonds); sago; lentils; pea, bean, gram ours; soy (flakes or our); millet grains (flakes or our); tapioca and oats

Wheat-free manufactured products – a wide variety of wheat-free speciality products such as flour, bread, biscuits, cakes and gravy mixes are now available at supermarkets, chemists and on-line. Some cafés or restaurants sell home baked gluten-free cakes – check that they are also wheat-free.

Please note that products labelled gluten-free may not be wheat-free as some are made from wheat starch and these are not suitable for wheat-free diets. REMEMBER: always check the label.

If you want dive further into wheat vs. gluten. vs. carbohydrates, read  A Grain of Truth About Gluten and Wheat HERE.

Source: CanAlt Health Laboratories

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