Wheat Allergy – Avoid These if you have it

by Allergy Guy

Avoiding wheat in the Western world like navigating a mine field. If you are allergic to wheat or gluten, or have celiac, you need a really good map and you need to always double-and triple-check everything.

This article tells you what to avoid.  For ideas on what to eat instead, see Gluten Free Foods

Note

This description is a work in progress. Note in particular that the lists may not be complete. I certainly intend to improve and expand on this article as time goes on. Do please add your comments to help add content or correct any inaccuracies that you notice.

Wheat Free Road Map

This article is a bit of a map. It is divided into four sections:

Synonyms to Wheat

See the Definition of Wheat.

(Almost) Always Contains Wheat

Most of these items always contain wheat. Some ususally are made from wheat.

  • Bread (wheat-free bread does exist)
  • Chappatis
  • Fu
  • Gnocchi
  • Gravy mix
  • Liquorice candy
  • Manna
  • Muesli
  • Noodles (exception: rice noodles, commonly found in Asian food)
  • Pasta
  • Pitta bread
  • Play dough
  • Quorn products (mycoprotein food)
  • Rusk
  • Sauces in general. If you can’t verify the ingredients, assume they contain wheat).
  • Scotch eggs
  • Soy sauce (exception: some brands of tamari sauce)
  • Stuffing
  • Suet
  • Soups (especially packaged or canned, check ingredients. Home-made soup may not have wheat. Always ask.)

May Contain Wheat

  • Baking powder
  • Beer/lagerBlue cheese (depending on mold source)
  • Coffee substitutes made from cereal
  • Chicken and beef broth (canned/cubed)
  • Citric acid (verify before use)
  • Corn starch (some brands add wheat flour)
  • Curry powder (some brands add wheat flour)
  • Dextrin (may be derived from wheat)
  • Edible Starch (may be derived from wheat)
  • Filler (could be anything!)
  • Food Starch (may be derived from wheat)
  • Falafel
  • French fries (especially if manufacturered or seasoned. Always ask.)
  • Gelatinized starch, modified starch, modified food starch
  • Gum base
  • Hydrolyzed plant protein
  • Ice cream
  • Imitation bacon
  • Imitation crab
  • Meat, fish and poultry binders and fillers, e.g., deli meats, hot dogsPie fillings, puddings
  • Medicines (always check with pharmacist)
  • Miso
  • Modified starch or modified food starch
  • MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)
  • Mustard powder, prepared mustard (always check)
  • Pepper, ground (avoid in restaurants). Whole pepper is fine.
  • Prepared ketchup, mustard
  • Salad dressings
  • Sauces, e.g., chutney, soy sauce, tamari sauce
  • Seasonings
  • Spices, ground (always check)
  • Starch (may be derived from wheat)
  • Stock cubes
  • Surimi (used to make imitation crab/lobster meat)
  • Thickener (unless specified as other than wheat).
  • Tortillas
  • Vegetable protein
  • Vitamines (always check with pharmacist)
  • Yogurt (those thickened with starch or wheat are of low quality in any case)

Leave a Comment

{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

1 chris January 22, 2012 at 00:37

I have recently self-diagnosed a wheat/gluten allergy and I’m pretty sure I’m right. What is strange is that I’d never had any gastro-intestinal response to eating wheat/gluten until 5 months ago (I’m 55 years old). I had been eating and LOVING bread/wheat products my whole life. But after a dentist prescribed a prophylactic regimen of antibiotics (clindamycin) I got C-diff and after that cleared up my wheat/gluten allergy became painfully obvious – intense stomach/intestinal pain and diarrhea (very different from the C-diff, which caused sudden and explosive diarrhea but no pain). The tip-off, however, was that once I started a gluten free diet, not only did I experience IMMEDIATE relief in my gut, but a skin problem I’d been dealing with unsuccessfully for several years also cleared up really quickly, which suggests to me I’d been dealing with this allergy years before the gastro issues manifested. And although I’ve never been diagnosed with asthma, I always had a lot of gunk in my lungs which also dissipated once I became gluten free. I’ve read that some celiacs do not experience gastro problems at all, so I assume I was in that category.

Could the antibiotic somehow have been involved in spurring my allergic response in my gut? Like I said, I’d been eating wheat/gluten products my whole life without problem before this rather sudden onset.

At any rate, I will concur with some of the above comments: once I fixed my diet, the relief was immediate and plentiful and, quite frankly, I’ve never felt better in my life. And whereas I’d always been “regular” now my digestion is even better. The one gastro issue I’d dealt with in the past few years was reflux and I had stopped drinking caffeine which seemed effective. Now that I am gluten/wheat free, my reflux is GONE… and I can drink regular coffee again… YAY!

Thanks for your VERY informative site.

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2 rhiannon January 30, 2012 at 12:58

hi all i am a little confused!i have a suspected wheat allergy (negative blood test for celiacs)the most frustrating part of this is the rash i get as it drives me barmy!i do get bloating ,cramps etc i have been trying to stay wheat free which i am finding difficult.I also react to rice but not as bad. my question is if i do have a wheat allergy would the same allergy cause me to react to rice?or would that possibly be a seperate allergy?
thanks in advance

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3 Allergy Guy January 30, 2012 at 17:42

You could be allergic to glutens. There are different types in different grains, and rice has it’s own type, although this type does not (according to current thinking at least) cause celiac disease symptoms.

It seems that some people to do not do well on grains generally (wheat, oats, rice, corn etc) while others must avoid only the big four (wheat, barely, rye and oats). Note that spelt is a form of wheat.

Sounds like you should avoid all grains for now and see if that helps.

See Gluten Free Foods for some ideas on basic gluten free food ingredients (although it does include grains, but focus on other food types)

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4 Maggi February 7, 2012 at 16:31

I am allergic to wheat, corn, soy, bananas, apricots, oranges, turkey and peanuts to name a few (there are alot more items on my list that I am unable to eat )….I ate a bowl of Quaker Oatmeal (old fashioned kind that you make in a pan) this morning around 10:30 and now I am coughing and feel itchy…..is this wheat related or am I allergic to oatmeal too?? UGH!

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5 kendra May 14, 2012 at 11:10

Gluten cross contamination. Unless you buy gluten free pats they are likely to have been proceeded with wheat and on equipment that processes wheat.

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6 Chole February 21, 2012 at 02:21

I know there’s gluten free beer out there and I’ve read the comments with refrence to vodka, but what about whiskey? I know straight whisky has to be betwen 50-70% corn, but what about that last 30%? Does the distillation process cancel it out as with vinegar?
Just found out I am allergic to wheat, rye, beef, and chicken (skin test, the blood test for celiac was negative). I’ve also been lactose intolerant my whole life. I’m almost 30 so this is a big change for me – a girl could use a drink right about now! Any thoughts?

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7 Allergy Guy February 22, 2012 at 11:41

Single-malt whiskeys do not have the most perfect distilling process, that’s what helps give them their unique taste. I personally still consider them pretty safe but don’t have any research at hand to back that up. It would make the basis for a pretty good article though, so I’ll see what I can find out.

Blended whiskeys are more highly refined, but not as much as vodka. My feelings about them are similar to single malts, but more so.

Hope that helps!

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8 Emily March 2, 2012 at 13:19

My ‘almost’ two year old daughter was tested for food allergens. I got the results back, but I don’t understand where I need to go from here, with her diet. She was positive 2+ for egg whites, positive 2+ for wheat, but her transglutaminase antibody was negative, and 1+ equivocal for soya. Since 6 months, she has been on soy milk, because we thought she was allergic to milk. The milk protein came back negative. Do i take her off soy milk, and put her on something else? And what does it mean when shes positive to wheat protein, but negative to trasglutaminase? What should i be cutting out of her diet, etc… I am lost…and doctor wasn’t able to help me interpret the results.

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9 Allergy Guy March 5, 2012 at 09:58

That does sound confusing!

My personal approach is to eliminate any food that might be a problem, see if symptoms disappear, then slowly reintroduce foods one at a time to see if the symptoms come back. So in the case of conflicting test results, go with the positive result for now.

You need help form someone who does understand the results. Is your doctor an allergist? If so, not a good one! Find an allergist to help interpret results, and a dietician to help you work out a suitable diet for your daughter.

Let us know how that goes. Good luck!

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10 Allen April 3, 2012 at 20:42

My son was just tested for allergies because of a rash. He is 2. The test came back positive for a wheat and egg whit allergy (both level 2). He eats a TON of wheat and gluten loaded products. He never complains of stomach pain, goes to the bathroom regularly, and has no other symptoms as far as we can tell other than the rash. Here are my questions:
Does he need to immediately cut these products out of his diet?
Will exposure to these foods make his allergic reactions worse and worse?
Would a Low-Gluten diet help?
Thank you for your time.

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11 Allergy Guy April 3, 2012 at 21:27

The sooner your son cuts out wheat, the sooner the rash will stop – assuming that is in deed what is actually causing it. Only wait if you want him to suffer for longer.
Low-gluten is unlikely to help. Allergies are caused by the smallest amounts, and the rest doesn’t do that much more. For most people, it’s all or nothing. If you put your son on a low-gluten diet, you probably won’t see improvement, so just do it right, cut out 100% of wheat/gluten, NO EXCEPTIONS, and see what happens. It may take weeks to see any results at all so be patient, give it at least two months.

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12 MJK May 13, 2012 at 13:03

I never knew I had either wheat or gluten allergy until I looked back at my childhood. I always had stomach problems, anemia and case of skin itchies, and I was prescribed belladonna as a child for my stomach, cod liver oil for anemia, and later in life prednisone. As an adult, I’ve had at least three false symptoms of heart attack, winding up in ER but no findings of heart problems. I also suffered from severe arthritis pains and advanced osteoporosis despite a regimen of regular exercises. Additionally, I was diagnosed with IBS. My gastroenterologist gave me a cursory test for wheat allergy by a nutritionist having me eat Lorna Doone cookies and observing me in an hour-long test, only to say I don’t have celiac disease. I don’t know what she was looking for. In any case, I decided to simply go on a gluten-free diet after much research. I’ve been on this diet for three months, and my stomach problems, my itchies, and most of all, my arthritis pains have miraculously disappeared. But, I am still not sure whether I am simply wheat allergic or gluten sensitive. I am afraid to do a process of elimination by eating other grains that do not contain wheat for fear my arthritis pains would come back. All the health problems I’ve been through growing up and into adulthood had been a living hell for me. I am not so sure at my age now, I’d be willing to do experimentation. I no longer wish to see doctors who can’t figure out what is really wrong with me other than merely give me prescription medications that make me even sicker. I think I’ll just maintain a gluten-free diet even though I love barley and oats, which are suppose to be wheat-free.

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13 Allergy Guy May 13, 2012 at 21:19

Your approach sounds sensible, even if you may have to cut out a few things you don’t need to. Cutting out wheat is the hardest part anyhow.

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14 Clark May 21, 2012 at 13:51

Mustard – it says that some mustard and mustard powder may contain wheat. What are you looking for in the ingredients specifically?

The same with ground spices.

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15 Allergy Guy May 21, 2012 at 14:28

Good question!

As far as I can tell, wheat may not be on the list of ingredients in some cases, so you have to call the manufacturer to be sure. I don’t have absolute certainty on this so better safe than sorry.

As for ground spices, this is very vague, and manufacturers take full advantage of such vagueness. Again, best to call their toll-free number, and if they don’t have one, they’re too much effort to buy from.

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16 Alyssa November 19, 2012 at 21:33

Is it safe to eat corn tortillas?

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17 Allergy Guy November 20, 2012 at 12:12

Some brands of corn tortilla may contain wheat, so check the ingredient to make sure the ones you want to try are wheat-free.

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18 Rosa June 28, 2013 at 15:22

Can you tell me what beers are wheat free?
Thanks!

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19 Allergy Guy July 30, 2013 at 09:52

Here is an article on some gluten-free beer types. There are new GF beers coming out all the time and many of them have a small distribution so the best thing for you to do is ask your local beer retailer what they carry or can order.

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