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Living With a Wheat Allergy

Avoiding wheat if you or your child is allergic to it can seem like a big challenge. It's easier if you know where you're likely to find wheat and what you can eat instead.

Foods With Wheat

These foods have wheat protein:

  • Bran
  • Bread crumbs
  • Bulgur
  • Couscous
  • Durum, durum flour, and durum wheat
  • Einkorn
  • Farina
  • Farro (also known as emmer)
  • Kamut
  • Semolina
  • Sprouted wheat
  • Triticale
  • Wheat (bran, germ, gluten, grass, malt, starch)
  • Wheat berries
  • Wheat flour (all types, including all-purpose, cake, enriched, graham, high protein or high gluten, and pastry)

Foods That May Have Wheat

Check labels when buying food or ask at restaurants whether a dish has wheat or wheat products in it. These foods often do:

  • Acker meal
  • Ale and beer
  • Baking mixes
  • Baked goods, including cookies, cakes, and crackers
  • Breaded and batter-fried foods
  • Cereals
  • Hot dogs and processed meats
  • Ice cream
  • Salad dressing
  • Pasta
  • Sauces and soups
  • Soy sauce
  • Surimi (mock crab meat)

Ingredients With Wheat

If you see any of these listed on a label, the food may have wheat in it:

  • Gelatinized starch
  • Gluten or vital gluten
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Natural flavoring
  • Starch, modified starch, modified food starch
  • Vegetable gum or starch

4 Wheat Allergy Tips

  • Ask your doctor about other grains. When you have a wheat allergy, you may or may not be allergic to some other grains, too. Gluten, one of the wheat proteins that can cause a reaction, is also in barley, rye, and oats. Ask your doctor if they are safe to eat.
  • Always check labels. Allergic reactions to wheat can range from stomach upset to asthma-like symptoms to anaphylaxis, which is an emergency. Foods that have wheat must say so on the label. Check them to avoid a reaction.
  • Beware of wheat outside the kitchen. Wreaths and garlands may include wheat or wheat products as decorations. Some children's play dough also has wheat in it. Other non-food items may, too.
  • Bake with other flours. If a recipe calls for wheat flour, try rice flour, potato starch flour, corn flour, or soy flour instead. Experiment to find the one that gives you the best texture.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on October 25, 2012
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