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

by Allergy Guy

Spelt is sometimes touted as a safe alternative for a wheat-free or gluten free diet.  In this article we look at why this is and how true it is.

Spelt is considered an “ancient grain”, which is assumed to be better than modern, highly developed varieties.  There is some truth to this, but if you have a gluten allergy or celiac disease, watch out!

Spelt is a type of wheat, but not a modern variety.  It may be tolerated in small or even large amounts, by some people with a wheat allergy or gluten allergy.  Spelt is different enough from modern wheat to have different protiens, and it has less gluten than modern wheat.

Avoid if you are celiac!  If you have celiac disease, you must avoid all spelt, just like any other form of wheat.  Spelt is not safe for celiacs.

Use caution if you have a gluten allergy, gluten intolerance or wheat allergy.  If your symptoms are severe, you will want to completely avoid spelt because it probably isn’t worth the risk, but if your symptoms are relatively mild, you may want to try some and see how you react.  If you tolerate spelt, have small amounts occasionally (no more than once per week) for a while, before deciding if you can tolerate more.

Food that is labeled “wheat-free” sometimes contains spelt as the primary replacement for wheat flour.  This is  inaccurate.  Spelt is related to wheat, although it is not identical to modern wheat.

If you are allergic to wheat, can you eat spelt? Maybe.

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

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

What is your experience with gluten free diet and spelt?  Can you tolerate some spelt?  Do you avoid it completely?  Have you ever been fooled into eating spelt by inaccurate labeling or incorrect ideas?  Please leave a comment.

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1 Sandra J. Swaan March 5, 2017 at 00:08

Horrible symptoms within a few hours of eating small amount of Spelt in homemade gluten-free bread. Large amounts of gas, intestinal discomfort and spasms, elevated blood pressure, agitation and discomfort. Irregular heart beat, too.

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