If you have been diagnosed with a wheat allergy you will need to avoid any food containing wheat as the wheat protein can cause an allergic reaction. Strict avoidance is particularly important if you have an immediate allergy to wheat (known as IgE-mediated). If you have a wheat intolerance you may be able to tolerate small amounts of wheat.
If you think you may have coeliac disease check out our Food Fact Sheet here.
A dietitian will be able to support you with your wheat-free diet. They can tell you which foods to avoid, help you to find suitable alternatives, and ensure that your diet remains balanced and nutritionally sound.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat. Having a wheat allergy does not necessarily mean that you need to avoid gluten. Most wheat-free products are gluten-free unless they contain rye, barley or standard oats. Your doctor or dietitian will be able to advise if you need to avoid gluten.
Some gluten-free foods may still contain wheat starch and are not suitable if you have wheat allergy. Always check the label.
Wheat is a grain and is a main ingredient of many foods such as: breads, chapattis, naan breads, breakfast cereals, biscuits, crackers, crumpets, scones, pancakes, wafers, cakes, pizza, pasta, pastries and Yorkshire puddings. It is also found in many convenience foods such as soups, sauces, spices, malted drinks, processed meats, battered/breaded meat and fish, and ready-made meals.
Under current UK law, wheat along with other common allergens, must be clearly labelled on all packaged foods and drinks. These allergens have to be clearly emphasised e.g. in bold, italics or highlighted. For foods sold without packaging, such as in restaurants, cafes or delicatessens, allergen information must be provided in writing or verbally.
The following are all types of wheat and will need to be avoided:
There are many wheat-free alternatives you can use as a substitute to wheat that will provide variety to your meals or can be used in baking, and will help you get all the nutrients you need from your diet.
There are now plenty of wheat-free products available to buy:
NHS Choices (2019) Food allergy. [online] Available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/food-allergy/Pages/Intro1.aspx [Accessed 04 October 2021]
Practice Based Evidence in Nutrition (PEN) (2014) [online] Available at: www.pennutrition.com/bda (subscription) [Accessed 04 October 2021]
Skypala, I., Venter, C. Eds (2009) Food hypersensitivity – diagnosis and managing food allergies and intolerances. West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.
Wright, T., Clough, J. (2007) Food Allergies - enjoying life with a severe food allergy. London: Class Publishing.