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

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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{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

1 lynda February 2, 2017 at 13:10

Hi I am inquiring on spelt flour. I have been eating bread that is made of spelt flour. I have been exsperientcy cramping in my lower part of my body. Would trying this different bread made with spelt flour would upset my stomach in any way, I have been eating this bread for one week now. Could someone please get to me on this subject. Thanks


2 Allergy Guy February 4, 2017 at 12:54

Spelt flour is unlikely to affect you worse than regular wheat flour, so if you don’t have a problem with wheat, then spelt is probably OK. If you have a problem with wheat, then spelt might be less bad, but is probably still not good.

The best, and only, way to know for sure is to stop eating spelt and see what happens; then start again and see if you notice a difference.


3 Brenda Brooks January 10, 2017 at 17:24

I have a wheat intolerance but have just started to make bread with white spelt flour and have found that I can tolerate it and it tastes good. I am expecting a weight gain!!


4 Mary-Ann January 5, 2017 at 15:15

Today we had a morning tea and was told what was GF i was very excited as prior to working in the team i could never eat anything but fruit as it was always just too hard to cater GF. In my current team we have a number of Celiacs (my self) and people with Gluten intolerances & alergies – so its amazing to feel so considered and included when they do team functions.

Anyway because of the high GF awareness i trusted people when told the food was GF. Si yesterday i had this amazing coconut banana cake & asked for the recipe from one of the serious alergy GF people who baked it who was also my Branch manager. She rattled off list of ingredients and sure enough she used spelt because she was sure it was GF.

A very awkward moment followed as there are about 6 of us in the team and we are all affected differently. I had eaten 2 pieces earlier & was half ay through another & stopped & put in the bin.
I’d never had spelt before, so i treated this as a bit of an experiment. I found it didn’t effect my gut in the same way (which usually I’d feel gluten affects with 20-30 min), but after 6-8 hrs clearly it affected my memory as i lost my car at the shopping centre last night. It was like a complete blurr. I had no recal what so ever. Its now the next morning & I’ve got that all too familiar groggy unslept feeling even though I’ve slept a good 7hrs.
Thanks for the article – I’ll just have to keep that same cautios approach to food again.


5 Allergy Guy January 6, 2017 at 23:13

Thanks for your comment, Mary-Ann. Increased awareness of allergies, especially GF, is great, but it comes at a price: people think they know what GF is and other people, like us, believe them! I “always” ask regardless (I try to make it always) – as in “oh great! What’s in it?” – which could be taken as “how do you make this GF, that’s amazing” or “um, I don’t quite trust you, what’s in it?”. The intent is the second meaning but I hope the first is taken.


6 Julie willson July 24, 2016 at 14:42

I have been wheat intolerant since 2002. I have eaten gluten free bread like genius and supermarket brands. They were mostly ok but crumbly and holey, however in the last few years all the bakeries making these breeds have been adding pysillium husk or beet fibre or pea fibre unfortunately I reach badly to all these. It’s like I’ve eaten wheat and believe me it’s not nice, stomach cramps, persistently going to the toilet, being violently sick and migraines. Genius breads just told me to eat the bread they make without pysillium husk unfortunately I still have all the symptoms described above. Does anyone have any ideas please as to what I can do.


7 Dan Hayes October 24, 2014 at 14:18

Thank you very much; this was quite helpful and saved me a nasty turn. I had never thought of spelt as safe for me until a friend assured me it was quite alright and had no gluten.

We’re still friends 🙂


8 Marie Jenkins May 15, 2014 at 05:08

I have been able to eat Spelt Flour for many years. I usually eat no more than 2-3 small slices a day. It is enjoyed by everyone who eats in my home.
I have made bread, pizza, cakes, pastry with this flour.
Some places in England sell Spelt bread, which is lovely and saves me cooking and making time.


9 Cynthia May 14, 2014 at 13:48

I have not had gluten for over a dozen years. I tentatively tried a very small amount of spelt with no reactions. I tried a little more. I find I can have a small amount daily with no negative reactions. On the other hand, I tried a quarter sized piece of bread with spelt, kamut and rye and had major pains in my gut several hours later. I guess spelt is different.


10 Allergy Guy May 15, 2014 at 09:53

Spelt is different in my experience. I used to eat it in small quantities, but I’ve noticed that the better I am with following my GF diet, the more I notice the difference between being fairly well and really well, and found I was better cutting it out completely. Of course this choice is up to each individual.


11 Simon Valentine December 23, 2013 at 05:18

I’m wheat-free and have been for ten years since having food poisoning in 2003. I make my own bread and have been using Spelt flour for around three weeks now, eating almost daily, but have realised that the symptoms I’ve had for around a week are almost certainly due to the bread. I mix wheat-free bread flour with rye flour, and buckwheat when I can find it, but started using spelt as an alternative. I think I should have done it more gradually!


12 Coby Ellen November 13, 2013 at 05:56

Hi, I’m after to guidance. We have a 7month old baby and he is gets major reactions when he comes into contact with wheat. He becomes red, itchy, rashes and swollen when he digests wheat products and red blisters with skin contact. I made some rusks out of Spelt four and he seems to have no reaction. His symptoms of wheat allergy are becoming worse, and I dont want to make anything worse for him.

The doctor said wait until he is two to get allergy tests done. The problem I am facing is when we are out, he is crawling and even playgroup is becoming a nightmare.

Why is it that he cant have the slightest wheat come into contact with his body but Spelt flour seems to be ok?
He is also intolerant to dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt but not eggs).

Thank you for any feedback you may have.


13 Allergy Guy September 25, 2013 at 10:37

I used to think I could tolerate some spelt. I discovered this by accident when buying “wheat-free” cookies that were actually made with spelt. I found up to two cookies seemed fine, but more than that was not. I later realized that I was best off avoiding all spelt so I don’t eat it any more.


14 Alexa Baracaia January 27, 2013 at 11:45

This is incorrect – if you are properly allergic to wheat you CANNOT eat spelt. My son is allergic to wheat and has been told categorically by his allergist and dietician that spelt is not allowed.


15 Allergy Guy January 30, 2013 at 18:19

When you say ‘this’, what are you referring to, a comment or the article? The original article says that some people with a wheat allergy may be able to eat spelt. Which means that others cannot. Anyone starting treatment for a wheat allergy should avoid it until their allergy is under control. Depending on the risk and severity of symptoms, they might consider trying spelt to see if it is a problem.

These days there is so much gluten free food available, that the advantage to eating spelt is slim in my opinion, but I think this is up to the individual to evaluate for themselves, possibly with the help of a doctor if they feel the need.


16 Tammy November 23, 2012 at 11:06

I agree and disagree! People who “tolerate” spelt only do not feel the damage it is doing. If you eat spelt you are damaging your intestines since it is a gluten. people who eat glutens when they have celiacs disease and do not have the effects others do must realize just because you may not feel the effects- it IS effecting you just that you do not realize it. I knew a friend who ignored being a celiac and she ended up with intestinal cancer because of the damage the glutens did to her intestines. If your body cannot digest the gluten- where do you think it goes? Through your intestines unidgested! And that can cause damage!


17 Allergy Guy November 23, 2012 at 11:51

Well said, Tammy. I completely agree for celiacs. For those with a gluten allergy, you can go by how you feel, but if you try that when you have celiac then you can be up for serious health problems.


18 Lena October 13, 2012 at 18:03

I start to eat food made with spelt flour,I eat now more than before(before I eat a bite or two) and I can’t sleep .I wonder if it is realted to the spelt.I don’t have a celiac ,but I eat conform my blood type ( O ) that’s what they say you should eat.What I know I can’t have coffeine,soy,chocolatte,etc.Do you think the spelt flour may have some coffeine?


19 Allergy Guy October 13, 2012 at 18:10

Spelt does not have caffeine.
It seems unlikely to be spelt, assuming wheat does not cause sleeping problems for you. Still, you never know.

Try cutting out spelt, and see if that helps. If not, look for other changes in diet or changes in your life (eg stress etc)


20 No Gluten June 23, 2012 at 14:24

Hi everyone,

I wanted to share the contact info for an acupuncturist in Los Angeles who practices ‘8 constitutional medicine’. It’s a Korean acupuncture tradition and after experiencing a lot of the symptoms some of you have written about, I was very lucky to find this guy. Dr. Kim did muscle testing on me with various foods, substances including vitamins. Similar to many people who have written here, after 8 sessions with him, he concluded that ‘my constitution’ (vesicotonia) should avoid the following (it’s a lot!). Since doing this I do not bloat, have lost weight (gone back to what feels like my optimum weight). I have recently begun baking bread at home and have used Spelt. I will see if this is ok, so far a small amount of spelt in the week is ok. I’ve become used to not eating breads and grains and I’ve finally associated feeling great with foods that are good for me and the opposite for foods that aren’t. So I don’t miss the things that aren’t on the list. Really, it’s true. It takes time, but soon feeling great trumps having a slice of pizza or refined sugar or potato chips etc.

My avoids (maybe you should consider trying it for a couple of weeks and see if you feel better):
Seafood (shrimp/oysters/scallops/lobster etc.)
Garlic (this bothers more people than realized. Often because in restaurants the garlic has gone rancid)
Raw onion
Berries (!! I know!)
Greens (any leafy greens! BUT spinach is OK)
Green veggies (asparagus, green beans, broccoli, rapini)
Coconut (I still use coconut butter on my skin)
Vitamin E, Aloe
Cactus/Tequila/Brown Alcohol
Sugar, agave, honey
decaf coffee
(the best thing for us is hot/warm water with some lemon)

Okay in moderation (no more than once a week)
fish like trout, salmon (low mercury content)
chicken, beef, lamb
Wine (no more than one 5oz glass at a time)
Potato vodka
Maple syrup (I use ONLY this as a sweetener now)
Olive oil

root vegetables
squash/zucchini (green zucchini is actually ok)
sea vegetables
Vitamin B, C, D
And the other thing about this constitution (which you may or may not be, after all there are 8 of them) is that we shouldn’t eat late at night, and we should only eat VERY small portions. I have realized how little I need to consume (as long as it’s the RIGHT stuff for my constitution) to have full energy in the day, restful sleeps and alert mornings. These are things that until I followed this diet have been a challenge. Now, when I have more than a glass of wine I can’t wake up, same with sugar and same with eating without giving myself at least 5 hours of no food before bed.

It works for me, and now food is a fuel rather than a form of ‘entertainment’. It has left me with more energy, clear mindedness and joy and I’m happy to have found it.

Here is Dr. Kim’s info. Maybe there’s someone in your city who practices this. It seems very rare and there’s not a lot about it on the internet.
Dr. Kim 206 S Robertson Los Angeles Phone: (310)854-3888


21 Allergy Guy June 24, 2012 at 19:11

Interesting list.

The ‘Good’ list is pretty short, most people would find this too challenging to start. Are there more good foods than those mentioned above?


22 Allergy Girl June 24, 2012 at 19:42

Hey, had this from 2 different practitioners. LOAD OF RUBBISH. I have been told that I was fine with foods and things that blood tests or skin prick tests showed allergic reactions to, not to mention instant anaphylactic reactions or asthma attacks!. The only ‘alternative’ test I had that was so spot on it was scary, were tests on my hair, but you need a good lab, lots of fakes around. But I’m glad it’s working for you. My personal experience warns against it.

On a different note, if you’re baking with spelt, I find that wholewheat takes about a dessert tsp more of liquid, white spelt the opposite, but as you’re in the USA I don’t know about your flours. Just be careful it is true spelt.
My spelt loaves look exactly the same as normal wheat loaves, just remember spelt need less rising time as it rises more quickly, not rises less. I’ve made chelsea buns, hot cross buns, all sorts of cakes & bakes and just use normal recipes.
I always baked my bread by hand until recently.Just used a normal bread recipe with the liquid adjustments as advised. It took me 4 attempts to figure out what worked in my mum’s old breadmaker. None of the manufacturers’ recipes worked well for me. Especially the so-called “best” Panasonic – yuck. They claim spelt has a sunken crust – not true! My breads look EXACTLY THE SAME as normal bread (wish I could show you the pics) I think their loaf has sunk due to too much water and too long a cycle.
If using a breadmaker use a cycle approx 2hr 50m long, wholemeal loaf versions need 50% white spelt to work in a machine. Liquid adjusted as described. Hope this helps.
Good luck.


23 Kay February 2, 2018 at 15:46

I am also a Vesicotonia constitution and have tried everything before finding ‘8 Constitutional Medicine’. I agree wholeheartedly with you that changing my diet like you listed above has radically improved my health, the weight is just falling off of me so easily and I have more energy than I had as a young child. I definitely recommend others to look into this wonderful form of preventive and corrective health medicine. It is life-changing!


24 Sharon August 21, 2011 at 13:08

I’m a diagnosed Coeliac in the UK, given a lot of grief by various dieticians. My problem is that I have no problems eating gluten: I have no cramps, wind, side effects etc except I became anaemic. Last year I hit major depression as I don’t like cooking so can only go by bought gluten free products and have found them to be universally disgusting. In the end, the Dr said to allow myself a little of what I like and see what happens. Well, I still have antibodies to gluten, and mild anaemia, but I’m happy in myself. The Dr did say that I shouldn’t let the disease control me, and so long as I understand what COULD happen, to live each day at a time. This is what I now do.


25 Allergy Guy August 21, 2011 at 21:41

Hi Sharon,

Most people with celiac disease do have stomach and gut problems; you’re one of the rare exceptions who don’t.

Are you aware of the many complications that can arise in people with celiac disease who continue to eat gluten-containing foods including: cancer, Pancreas Disorders Thyroid problems, Type I Diabetes, skin problems … just to name a few?

I hope you can find a way to avoid gluten without subjecting yourself to disgusting food!


26 Sharon August 22, 2011 at 01:17

I do understand all the complications and most of the time stick to the diet. It’s just when I’m out for the day, finding a place that sells (appetising) gluten free food that IS NOT cake stuff, is almost nonexistent. So, if I want a wholemeal sandwich or a burger etc, I have it. Also, I didn’t have takeaway for nearly 3 yrs, while the rest of the family were still able to enjoy them…that’s a pretty soul destroying way to live, as all I could see was this long black tunnel for the rest of my life eating food I don’t like. I’ve had an underactive thyroid for 20 yrs which actually got worse when I followed the gluten free diet..had to double my medication. I know I’m lucky in not having gut problems, but as I say, I mainly follow the diet, just don’t beat myself up if I slip. My biggest gripe is the sheer cost of GF stuff, up to 4 times the cost of ‘normal’ food, i.e. pk of 4 normal pitta breads=£1, 4 GF ones £2.10.


27 Allergy Guy August 22, 2011 at 22:55

I’ve been gluten-free for over 20 years. Only recently have there been dedicated gluten-free products. But there has always been gluten-free food available if you go about it the right way. Granted, part of the right way is eating at ‘ethnic’ restaurants. If you like Indian food, then you’re in luck. There are a few things you need to avoid, and you must make sure none of the sauces are thickened with flour (this is extremely rare), but you can eat most of the menu. If frequenting Western restaurants, you are usually safe with orders like steak and fish, as long as you ask the right questions and make sure it is prepared gluten-free.

It seems reasonable to expect support from your family, like the rest of them making an effort to eat food that you can too. That’s my opinion anyhow.


28 Sharon August 23, 2011 at 04:15

My family are great at supporting me, but when a gluten free shop for one costs as much as a ‘normal’ shop for 4 it can be hard to let them eat the same as me. As I say, I don’t cook (if I can help it), and I do have a very limited palate of foods I like. The only ethnic food I like is Chinese as well as my normal ‘English’ food, and you can see how difficult it becomes. But, I have regular checks with the Dr who would like me to lose a little weight…don’t they all? It’s a strange world when the things that you’re told, all your life, are good for you are actually bad for you!

29 Lex May 26, 2011 at 05:01

Wow again i didnt know that,,,thank you,,,does corn have some similarity to wheat/gluten or is it the fact its GM that does it? ….are there any good pages to get some good recipes that are wheat free? ive found even some GF items still contain wheat its quite confusing at first im going ot have to do alot of research especially for my kids if i have such issues there good chance that they might too. Um now is yeast ok for a wheat free diet or again just try and see if there is a reaction?
thanks for all your help allergy guy


30 Allergy Guy May 26, 2011 at 16:16

Gluten-free should mean wheat free as well, although not all wheat-free recipes are gluten-free.

See the gluten free recipe section on this site for some ideas.


31 emma May 29, 2011 at 09:31

Hi, I have recently come to know that I am wheat intolerant. I was told to check the labels of everything I buy which is fine. However by mistake I had wheat and was bloated for 8 days, my stomach was huge! I was told that I could eat gluten free bread/food etc.. however i have seen on the internet that just because something is gluten free it does not necessarily mean wheat free. ANyone know the definite answer to this???


32 Allergy Guy May 30, 2011 at 16:25

I’ve seen this too, but still don’t have a completely convincing explanation for it.

It may be possible that some manufactures use wheat starch or some other wheat fraction that is considered to be gluten free but is derived from wheat, so that would be the main thing to watch out for.


33 lex May 25, 2011 at 00:06

Hiya,,i have just recently (after my second baby) been diagnosed as wheat intollerant,,and wow since having to realy pay attention to thingsi cant believe how much wheat is in EVERYTHING! no wonder there are so many people with issues i also didnt realise how many people were in the same boat! i havent had bread for months now too scared to take any chances at the moment lol after feeling good again :),,,,,,has anyone has any luck or isses with corn bread you know the polenta bread,,i havent had corn for a while either after doing some reasearch people seem to develop intollernaces of other foods once being diagnosed ,,,is this generally cause they substitute or things just kick off once your aware of intollerances and that foods can make you feel unwell?


34 Allergy Guy May 25, 2011 at 09:50

Most often, people with one food sensitivity or allergy have others too.

It is common to be allergic to both wheat or gluten as well as corn.

I suggest that you approach corn with caution. Try some, but not too much at a time. If it seems OK, then you can include it in your diet but don’t over-do it.

Corn is a major genetically modified crop so it is worth buying organic.


35 JoG January 31, 2014 at 11:25

Organic can be genetically modified, so look for organic gm-free.


36 NutritionWoman September 3, 2015 at 22:05

Certified organic cannot be Genetically Modified at the same time
If a product is labelled non GMO it does not mean that it is certified organic
Please be aware of this distinction


37 Laura March 9, 2011 at 18:13

I have an allergy to wheat, barley, rice, and all grass. As well as nuts and shellfish. I was wondering do you know of a bread that I could eat. I tried spelt bread with potato flour. I didn’t notice a reaction, but have felt really tired and weak after eating it. Wheat causes my blood pressure and heart to raise. Which could cause the tiredness I guess. I don’t get any grains in my diet. Just trying to find something to help out. Thanks


38 Allergy Guy March 10, 2011 at 11:52

I can’t think of any bread that is grain-free. The gluten-free alternatives I’ve seen so far use rice or some other grain. Also, it depends where you live. You may find gluten-free and grain-free bread at your local health food store, or maybe there is a local gluten-free bakery that can help you out.

The alternative is to just not eat bread period. I ate no bread of any kind for decades. Then I found some I could eat. Then I stopped eating bread again because I still felt a bit tired, even after eating gluten-free bread.

Going completely bread-free is not horrible. It is less convenient, but if that’s what you need to do to feel good, it’s worth it!


39 Jamie March 10, 2011 at 12:21

Hi Laura
I also have an allergy to wheat, soy, nuts, shellfish (except shrimp), pork, chocolate, and a bunch of other foods and certain preservatives. I’ve had a hard time finding bread that agrees with me until recently. Sunflower Market has a bread from “Rubschlager” 100% Rye “RYE-OLA Pumpernickel Bread. This bread has these following ingredients: Whole Rye Meal, Water, Salt, Yeast, Calcium Propionate (a preservative). This seems to agree with me. Its worth a try. You could also try buying Spelt flour in bulk and try some recipes (theres alot online). Spelt also agrees with me. I make fried fish or chicken with it. Anyway, good luck. I know how hard it is when you have allergies.


40 Allergy Guy March 10, 2011 at 13:33

Hi Jamie,

Glad you’ve found bread that agrees with you.

I take it you’re not celiac? Rye bread may be OK for many people with a wheat allergy, but is definitely not OK for celiacs.


41 Jamie March 10, 2011 at 17:01

Hi Allergy Guy,
I don’t think I’m gluten intolerant. I’ve been tested twice for celiac and they came out negative. However, it did show on an allergy testing that I had an allergy reaction to wheat, soy, and other things. Thanks


42 Allergy Guy March 11, 2011 at 08:46

Good thing you checked, that’s great.

43 Rocky June 15, 2011 at 21:36

If you are allergic to both wheat and rice, you might want to try gluten free corn tortillas as a substitute for bread.


44 Christine January 19, 2012 at 11:47

Laura, Have you tried quinoa? It can be cooked similarly to rice, but in only about 15 minutes. It is a seed, not a true grain. But it is eaten like a grain. I don’t have a suggestion as to bread for you, though.


45 Jamie December 18, 2010 at 18:05

I’ve had allergy tests in the past and it showed a wheat allergy among a bunch of other foods. I suspected I had gluten intolerance. But recently I found a natural rye bread that doesn’t have but 4 ingredients and no wheat. I thought this would be a good test for gluten since rye has gluten. I haven’t had any allergic reactions from it. So I assume I don’t have gluten intolerance, instead just a allergy to wheat and possibly a lot of other ingredients that they put in breads. I am very happy cuz most gluten free foods have xanthan gum and guar gum which bothers me also. I’m going to try spelt and see what happens. On my allergy tests I was allergic to about 90 percent of what they injected. Mostly environmental, pets, dust, and foods. Pretty crazy!


46 Allergy Guy December 20, 2010 at 12:02

Hi Jamie,

I’m glad you aren’t getting any ill effects from rye bread.

Do we aware that if you have celiac disease, you may still suffer long-term health effects from lower levels of gluten that do not trigger the more obvious symptoms. Also, as you get better, you may notice more subtle symptoms that you also want to eliminate.

You might consider getting tested for celiac just to be sure. If that test is negative, and I hope it is, fantastic! Still, you may want to cut out the rye bread after some time, just for a while, to make sure it really isn’t causing you any problems.

Just speaking from my own experience.


47 carole neville July 3, 2010 at 12:42

I am on a wheat free gluten free diet at the moment. I have had tests for coeliac but they were normal, but if I eat wheat or gluten i am ill with diarrhoea and stomach pains and heartburn. my doctor has told me to stick to a gluten free diet and i have been buying bread at the supermarket called Freefrom. It is good but has to be toasted to taste ok. I was told by my local shop that they got fresh wheat free gluten free bread delivered by the baker three times a week and there is someone else in my village who gets it too. I have found out it is spelt bread and just discovered that spelt is not gluten free or wheat free. I enjoy the bread but do end up with terrible heartburn and indigestion after eating it, and thought it was what i was putting on it that was causing the problem. I wonder if it is because it is not wheat or gluten free. My daughter is on a gluten free diet due to suspected coeliac (she’s been like this since birth) and she was told only today that spelt is not gluten or wheat free. Is this right, and is there a bread I can buy that is gluten free and wheat free.


48 Allergy Guy July 3, 2010 at 23:30

You have discovered the hard way that spelt contains gluten. It may have less gluten than wheat, and be of a slightly different type, but celiacs should not eat it.

As for you, if you are not celiac, go by how you feel. Sounds like spelt is off-limits for you.

There are lots of different types of gluten-free bread available. A lot of it is really very good. Shop around at different health food stores etc.

One thing to keep in mind about your tests – if you were off gluten for a long time before having them, they may not be normal. Some tests miss mild forms of celiac.


49 Allergy Girl June 7, 2012 at 09:47

Just to let you know, I have been using spelt since 1994. You are incorrect to say that Spelt has less gluten than wheat, in fact it actually has MORE. However, it is a completely different type of gluten, which is water soluble and therefore extremely easily digested, it breaks down naturally in the body, whereas we have to produce enzymes to break down down and digest wheat. Hence, it is more widely tolerated in some individuals who are unable to tolerate wheat, plus it doesn’t give that bloated feeling even if you can eat wheat!
It is important to note, that with the increased popularity of Spelt, some growers have started to cross true old Spelt grain with moderns wheats, to make the crop more hardy, but in the process, totally defeat the object of eating Spelt! So it is worth checking that the Spelt flour/product you buy is the true unadulterated grain! If you have previously eaten spelt and then reacted, make sure it wasn’t this cross-contaminated grain, and if you have only tried it once, so long as you’re not a coeliac, it is probably worth doing some research and trying the uncontaminated old grain before you throw it out all together.


50 Allergy Guy June 7, 2012 at 20:18

Hi Allergy Girl,

Spelt is a type of wheat, even if it is an “ancient” strain. If you are celiac, DO NOT EAT IT.

All food is broken down by enzymes, that is the natural way of digestion, starting with saliva.

Some people may be less sensitive to spelt than to wheat, some may not be able to eat wheat, but able to eat spelt. But that has to do with wheat intolerance, and possibly to some extent gluten allergy, but this does not apply to celiacs.


51 Mike July 19, 2012 at 23:03

Perhaps Allergy Girl meant that spelt digestion does not require as much enzyme production as gluten? It only makes sense that if the gluten is more water soluble is more water soluble, less digestive effort is needed.

To say that Celiacs have trouble digesting gluten does not tell the whole story. The issue is their bodies actually perceive gluten as a toxin and shut down digestion in general. It is not merely that they have trouble breaking gluten down.

Many foods can be hard to digest, but do not shut down all digestion or damage the villi. For example, blogger Shauna Ahern (Gluten-free Girl) has trouble digesting xanthan gum. But, she does not indicate that it damages her villi.

Some non-celiacs may have an issue with modern wheat that is comparable to her issue with xanthan gum.

I hope I have illustrated the distinctions clearly.

52 mindy February 8, 2012 at 18:35

There is a difference between spelt and SPROUTED spelt. Sproutedhas to be refrigerated and it is ok for wheat intolerance as far as I know. I guess the process of it is less broken down and easier for your body to digest.


53 Allergy Guy February 8, 2012 at 19:39

I have heard that sprouted grains (spelt, wheat etc) are safe for celiacs, because the gluten is broken down.

What I don’t know is if all of it is broken down, and if the sprouts have to be so many days old before they are safe.

When I have a chance to do research about it, I’ll publish an article about it. Until then my personal decision is to avoid sprouted gluten-grains.


54 Allergy Guy July 22, 2012 at 14:54

True – celiac is not about ability to digest gluten, but the effect of gluten on the immune system. It is basically an auto-immune disease, which can effect every organ in the body.

Re digestion: gluten is not water-soluble. Gluten is in wheat and spelt is a kind of wheat, so if you eat spelt, you’re eating gluten.


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