Is Kamut Safe for a Wheat-Free or Gluten-Free Diet?

by Allergy Guy

Food that is labeled “wheat-free” sometimes contains Kamut as the primary replacement for wheat flour.

If you are allergic to wheat, can you eat it? Probably not.

If you have celiac, can you eat it? NO!

The origin of Kamut is shrouded in mystery. It was developed by a private company. According to Wikipedia, they originally claimed that it was developed from grain found in an ancient Egyptian tomb. Since wheat does not remain viable for longer than 200 years (unless frozen), the story fell apart, and it is now claimed to originate from a contemporary form of Egyptian wheat.

This would make it a kind of wheat.

Personally, I have not risked trying it. If you have a low sensitivity to wheat, and/or your symptoms are not too severe, you may decide it is worth the risk to experiment and see if it agrees with you. You are more than welcome to share your experiences in the comments form below this post.

Kamut does have gluten in it so it is not suitable for celiacs.

So when food is labeled as “wheat-free” or “gluten-free”, always double check!

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Marguerite Sprott February 17, 2018 at 02:10

I’m severely wheat intolerant, after many years of suspected appendicitus, ulcers and all sorts of other investigations I was diagnosed by a specialist and have not looked back, on occasion I have had a small amount of wheat in a restaurant and its like I never stopped having it severe stomach pain for hours, stuck in the loo for hours and if its more than a touch it can take a couple of days to settle down. I read about kamut tried one piece no reaction, couple of days later had a couple of pieces – great, then had a bowl, absolutely no reaction – I can’t even drink vodka thats been made on wheat so to me this is amazing, I won’t eat it often but once a month or so maybe and thats great for me, so if you’re wheat intolerant perhaps try how I did – good luck.

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2 Allergy Guy April 1, 2018 at 21:10

I agree that Kamut is a bit different from wheat, and may suit some people who are wheat-intolerant.
Celiacs be warned: Kamut contains gluten!

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3 David August 22, 2017 at 09:30

My lips started singing and itching and a few hours later I was having difficulty breathing after eating Kamut. I thought it would be great and try it but it was a scary situation for me.

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4 Janet Dutridge June 6, 2014 at 06:18

I can eat gluten but cannot eat many grains including wheat. Yet I eat a lot of organic whole grain kamut and spelt with no problem. I rotate foods as much as possible every 3 days. I have so few “safe” foods left and am amazed I tolerate them so well. AGAIN although I have a LONG list of allergies…I am not gluten sensitive. BUT I CANNOT EAT WHEAT,OAT,MILLET,QUINOA,….I use to eat millet and quinoa but became allergic.

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5 Allergy Guy June 6, 2014 at 14:51

Sounds like you’re taking the right approach, eat what you can and rotate your diet often.

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6 Sharen Malone June 4, 2014 at 20:34

I am sensitive to wheat but I can eat Kamut. I’ve always suspected that it’s not the gluten that I’m sensitive to, but something else – perhaps, even, the chemicals used on wheat fields. I’ll never really know so I just avoid wheat.

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7 Les Grovatt April 9, 2014 at 13:22

My son has stomach issues for 16 years. We have exhausted every FDA approved test possible without any confirmed results. He does not have Celiac disease, but there is no test for gluten.

Recently I decided to have a Mediator Release blood test (MRT®) performed on my son. In the grain family, this test check for the following food sensitivities:

Kamut, Corn, Spelt, Buckwheat, Quinoa, Oat, Amaranth, Millet,
Barley, Rice, Wheat

We just received the result back and found that my son is extremely sensitive to Wheat and Rice and mildly sensitive to Barley and Millet.

Strangely enough, he had almost no reaction to Kamut Wheat. I just thought i’d pass this information along.

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8 Allergy Guy April 10, 2014 at 09:26

Interesting.
What I’m really interested to know is: if he cuts out wheat, rice, barley and millet, does he feel better after some time (could take a few weeks or even months)?

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9 Wanda December 5, 2013 at 07:22

I have come across a bread labeled gluten free. It contains wheat flour with gluten removed. Is the product left after gluten is removed really gluten free. I am celiac and I am not trusting this. I live in Mexico and this bread is made in her kitchen, and not tested for gluten.

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10 Allergy Guy December 17, 2013 at 11:42

I don’t think it is possible to remove gluten from flour, in any case gluten is essential to the consistency of wheat-based bread, so you can’t just remove the gluten from wheat flour and expect to make bread from it.

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11 Kate September 7, 2013 at 13:39

I have a mind wheat allergy. I was looking to supplement my daily oatmeal habit, since the oatmeal has been upsetting my stomach. I tried Kamut wheat and found it not only agreeable to my stomach with no adverse side effects, but it was also very filling.

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12 Allergy Guy September 9, 2013 at 09:38

Kate, what do you mean by a “mind wheat allergy?”

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13 Laura October 30, 2012 at 23:26

Hi all,
I just read both your spelt post and your Kamut post and I gotta say I am intrigued by the ancient grains. I have been wheat free for 2 years as a choice and notice better health because of it. I live mostly grain free, but do bake with gluten free grain flours on occasion. When I cheat, and I do, mostly in social situations like dinner parties. (hate having to ask for special food) I notice within the hour a histamine reaction. Sneezing and the like. The digestive issue are relatively mild and usually come on overnight. All that being said I recently tried some true spelt grain sourdough bread. Whoa- no histamine reaction. I have basically eaten a whole loaf of the stuff without a single sneeze or watery eye and no special digestive symptoms. But then I had a cracker at a buffet and guess what? Sneeze sneeze… Wow! I really gotta wonder if modern wheat is the problem. Can’t wait to try grains like emmer and eikhorn. Btw I get the same histamine reaction to corn too:( These things are a bummer but it would be great to bring back some good bread into my life. I’m going to keep experimenting.

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14 Allergy Guy November 1, 2012 at 10:09

Hi Laura, not everyone has the same problem with wheat. It sounds like you might have a wheat allergy, rather than a gluten allergy or celiac disease, based on what you said in your comment. If you’re OK with spelt, that’s great, gives you a lot more options!

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15 Shasta Michaels October 17, 2011 at 13:25

Hi, I’m not celiac nor am I allergic to wheat. I am, however, wheat sensitive, which means I cannot digest the proteins found in wheat. Does anyone out there have this problem? And if so, have you tried eating kamut? Is it safe for those with wheat sensitivity? I’m always wanting to try new things but with this I want to be careful. Comments anyone? Thanks in advance!!

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16 Allergy Guy October 17, 2011 at 14:00

There are many proteins in wheat, so one person’s experience with a wheat allergy may differ from another’s. Still, such feedback may help you.

I suggest that if your symptoms are manageable and you really want to expand your food horizons, you may want to consider trying Kamut. If on the other hand, your diet is manageable and the symptoms are hard to live with, you might prefer to be conservative and avoid Kamut.

I’m not sure if you will find this helpful. It is all a question of risk management and only you know what the risks are and how much you are willing to risk.

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17 JDfromAZ August 29, 2012 at 09:08

I cannot tolerate wheat,oat,barley anymore but can eat spelt and kamut. I have a VERY long list of allergies. As time as passed it has increased. I now do a 3 day rotation. I have to eat about 8 times a day so I am repeating the grain of the day often. Unfortunately single grain products with spelt or kamut are getting harder to find. Pacific Bakery is out of business and EWRON no longer makes Kamut Flakes. Arrowhead does but has rice in there. I need single grain foods with only salt. I am allergic to oils, nuts and seeds, yeast, fish,poultry and everything I use to eat a lot of. I recently gained a few but still at about 81lbs so can’t afford to limit calories. Any products out there you know of? I did see Suzie has these grains in Cakes similar to rice cakes. Have to find them somewhere. I cannot buy a whole case because of my rotation and risk of having to stop eating them.

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18 Allergy Guy September 3, 2012 at 12:44

You could buy just the whole grain and mill your own flour with a Vitamix (see sidebar). That way you get super-fresh flour, you can buy limited amounts of what you need and the whole grain keeps longer anyhow.

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19 JDfromAZ September 3, 2012 at 12:57

Yes thank you. I know that is ideal but due to my health and time pressures I need easy as possible. I am now making tortillas from organic whole grain flours, Arrowhead and Bob’s Red Mill. My husband use to help and he recently passed so I have the whole property and pool to take care of.
I have a meat grinder and rarely use it anymore. Fortunately I have a great butcher at a local health market. I do make homemade frozen yogurt. Breads will be more fun in winter, not so much when 115 outside in AZ! Thanks!

20 milkman October 13, 2011 at 07:10

i tryed Kamut last night, and it still had the same effect as wheat, so goodluck on finding what works for you

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21 Tessy girl July 18, 2011 at 02:06

I cannot have wheat at all, on a FODMAP diet for life, but the kamut bread is fine for me…

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22 Allergy Guy July 20, 2011 at 11:54

Some people with a wheat allergy can tolerate kamut, and I’m glad you’re one of them! Luck for you, you’re not celiac.

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23 Avery November 18, 2010 at 07:20

anyone know the amount of gluten in Kamut compared to commodity wheat? i eat puffed kamut cereal for breakfast with pea protein powder, i am not gluten-intolerant as far as i know or have wheat allergies but i am interested in limiting my gluten intake as i don’t see it as natural (many varieties nowadays have a much higher amount of gluten than originally– possibly because it might make the crops more cold-hardy). i do not wish to eliminate grains entirely as i am a soy & corn-free vegan as i love grains, i just want to avoid crops that have been changed “too much”.

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24 Allergy Guy November 18, 2010 at 13:41

Hi Avery,

Kamut is an “ancient grain” meaning it has not been modified, that is why it is different from other forms of wheat.

Given that you do not have problems with gluten and your criteria for to avoid crops that have been changed “too much”, you should be safe with kamut.

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25 Susan Hepp August 23, 2010 at 04:01

Hello… I am allergic to wheat, but not gluten.
(I have irritable bowel syndrome, as well) I can eat both spelt and kamut, but I find the kamut to be ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL on my system!!

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26 Allergy Guy August 23, 2010 at 11:48

Lucky you, Susan!

Some people with a wheat allergy can eat spelt and kamut. The majority of people who can’t eat wheat are celiac and must avoid gluten and therefor spelt and kamut. Glad you have more latitude.

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27 Ver December 2, 2011 at 11:15

Same here. I have been eating Kamut for a while and I feel fine. I like Kamut and overall it feels healthier. I don’t get bloated or sleepy and the crackers are just delicious with tomatoes, goats cheese and mint

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28 Jessica August 17, 2010 at 16:25

Shoot! I have been eating this! Thanks for the article. Not sure that I can blame this as the absolute culprit but I have been sick for sure.

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29 Triticum turgidum July 20, 2010 at 09:11

If you are concerned whether alternatives to wheat are appropriate (especially if you are a coeliac) then I recommend researching thoroughly and where possible source credible sources of primary literature.

The following paper from Chemical Engineering Transactions on “Composition of whole and refined meals of Kamut under southern Italian conditions” (2009, Piergiovanni, Simeone, Pasqualone) provides a detailed nutritional analysis; it is particularly high in gluten and selenium.

I have to say, as a researcher in plant genetics, that it is extremely easy for us to show and understand how different members of the Triticum family are related to the modern day wheat variety- stories of kamut being “developed from grain found in an ancient Egyptian tomb” and “falling apart ” don’t ring at all true. I’d like to echo Tara Blyth’s abover sentiments and say do you research at http://www.kamut.com!

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30 AnneDee April 20, 2010 at 19:10

My husband who has Celiac disease, inadvertently had kamut pasta.
Two hours later, he was quite ill for 5 hours with the typical symptoms of the gluten-intolerant celiac – (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating & chills). Kamut (and spelt) is not gluten-free!

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31 Allergy Guy April 20, 2010 at 19:31

Sorry your husband had to go through that.

Good cautionary tail for anyone who still wasn’t sure!

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32 Rachel Mingo January 15, 2010 at 09:56

Kamut

I have recently developed a wheat allergy which I am still being tested for and although I find I am able to eat Spelt, Kamut has proven to be a real no no! My body and face develop Urticaria and Angioedema which is itchy and painful and despite being on antihistimines and steroids as soon as I eat anything with Wheat or Kamut the symptoms develop very quickly. I wish I had researched Kamut before taking the chance and eating it, I am now suffering the consequences and havent left the house for a week because my face looks so destorted!

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33 Guest vikki January 7, 2010 at 22:54

kamut and wheat intolerance

I was told to avoid wheat apparently I am intolerant to it, I have had a number of friends around the same age all diagnosed with the same thing by doctors and naturopaths. However I can tolerate kamut and spelt,
the wheat grown now has been modified for more profit not in the interest of peoples health. If you are gluten intolerant or celiac then you can not have kamut.

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34 Tara Blyth June 4, 2008 at 15:04

Kamut grain

As a Montanan (where Kamut grain is grown) I have to comment on the above post! The grain was not “developed” by a private company. The grain is in it’s original, natural form when given to a man in Fort Benton, MT in the 1940’s. He was told it was from a tomb by the man selling it, so the story stuck for a while until Bob Quinn went back to Egypt to try and figure out the “real” story. It is NOT from a tomb, it IS wheat and it DOES contain gluten. Some farmers in the Fertile Crescent region were still growing it on small family plots, but it doesn’t yield very high and is not great for mass producing. Almost ALL other wheat has been modified and bred to give higher yields. Kamut grain also used to grow well over there in ancient times before the Nile river was damned up.

That being said, hundreds of people contact Kamut International (the company that promotes and protects the grain) to say they can eat it. Either they are misdiagnosed, or there is something different about Kamut grain. The company is having research done to better understand the properties of Kamut grain. “Kamut” is actually a trademarked name to sell this certain type of wheat that is always organically grown, un-hybridized, high in protein, and many other qualities. Go to their website at http://www.kamut.com to understand more. Hope that helps, there is a TON of misinformation out there about it!

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